South Africa name hooker Adriaan Strauss as captain

New coach Allister Coetzee has named a new-look squad for series against Ireland

Newly anounced Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss pictured during a training session in Stellenbosch on Monday. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

Newly anounced Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss pictured during a training session in Stellenbosch on Monday. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

 

South Africa named hooker Adriaan Strauss as captain for next month’s three-Test home series against Ireland.

New coach Allister Coetzee, who named a new-look squad on Saturday, praised the 30-year-old’s skills two days later.

“Adriaan’s leadership qualities are impressive and well-established and he has the respect of his team-mates on and off the field,” Coetzee said in an SA Rugby statement.

Strauss, a first cousin of Ireland and Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss, will become the 57th Springbok captain, taking over from former Munster player Jean de Villiers who retired after last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Adriaan has always fulfilled a leadership role, wherever he played, since coming through the junior national structures,” said Coetzee.

“He has shared the vice-captaincy role with Bismarck du Plessis for the Springboks and is also a former Cheetahs skipper and current Bulls captain. I have been impressed in my interactions with him and I have the utmost faith in him.”

Strauss has played 54 Tests since making his debut in 2008 and now looks to have claimed the regular hooker’s berth from Du Plessis, the player he has shared the number two jersey with since the retirement of former captain John Smit in 2011.

“I am very grateful to the coach for entrusting me with this enormous responsibility,” Strauss said. “I am incredibly humbled by this huge honour and also excited about the role.”

Coetzee named nine uncapped players in a 31-man squad on Saturday. The coach sprung a surprise with his selection of uncapped French-based prop Steven Kitshoff, who had been earmarked for a possible Test career with France after qualifying on a residency basis.

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD

Backs: Garth April (Sharks), Ruan Combrinck (Lions), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Lions), Nic Groom (Stormers), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Pat Lambie, Willie le Roux (both Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Rudy Paige (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Jan Serfontein (Bulls)

Forwards: Lood de Jager (Cheetahs), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (both Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux Begles), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi (both Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scara Ntubeni (both Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Julian Redelinghuys (Lions), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon), Warren Whiteley (Lions).

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