Eben Etzebeth downplays Springboks captaincy speculation

Eben Etzebeth downplays Springboks captaincy speculation

Springboks and Sharks lock Eben Etzebeth has refused to entertain any speculation over whether he could succeed Siya Kolisi as captain of the World Champions.

Despite having led the Boks in the past, Etzebeth deflected questions about becoming the permanent leader of the World Champions, after new coach Rassie Erasmus suggested Kolisi would be replaced over his move to Racing 92 in France.

Speaking to SABC Sport during his introduction as the new Hollywoodbets brand ambassador, alongside his wife Alina, Etzebeth insisted the focus is solely on playing and winning matches.

"I don't want to speculate too much on the Boks captaincy, we all know if Siya is match-fit he will always be in the team, and he might lead us [or] someone else might lead us," said Etzebeth.

"We just want to win Test matches, we're a core leadership group and we all work together, and the captain on the day will run out in front. But we will always work together, and whoever the responsibility lies on, we've got the backing of a couple of senior players.

"And if that responsibility comes to me, great; if it doesn't, also great, because we know we want to go into this year and be successful in our Test matches, and that for us is the main thing. 

"We're not worrying which individual gets what [role], as long as we can perform well as a team."

The sports betting company is also the title sponsor of the Sharks, and Etzebeth expresses enthusiasm about forging a personal partnership with them.

"I think through that sponsorship [of the Sharks] is where my relationship with Hollywoodbets started, and they do a lot for us, they've invited us to the offices and it's great to see what they stand for and the hard work all the people put in there," he noted.

"So it's great to actually be with Hollywoodbets now on a personal note as well, because the partnership with them is actually a no-brainer, it really goes well with everything."

READ: Etzebeth returns as Sharks name strong side to face Edinburgh