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Etzebeth to captain Springboks in Rugby Championship

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South Africa’s Springboks will be captained in the opening rounds of the Rugby Championship by lock Eben Etzebeth while Warren Whiteley recovers from injury.

Etzebeth led the Springboks in the last Test of the three-match series against France in June, when Whiteley was ruled out of action because of a groin injury.

Whiteley missed the remainder of the Super Rugby campaign as a result of the injury, and he will be out of action for at least six more weeks, ruling him out for the opening part of the 2017 Rugby Championship.

“Eben did an excellent job against France in Johannesburg, when he had to step in at short notice after the late withdrawal of Warren. He enjoys the respect of his team mates and also commands respect on and off the field,” said Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee.

“He is well supported by our strong leadership group which consists of Siya, Tendai Mtawarira and Elton Jantjies.”

Etzebeth has played in 57 Springbok Tests since making his debut on 9 June 2012 against England in Durban, when he was 20 years old.

The Springboks start their campaign against the Pumas on 19 August in Port Elizabeth and then travel to Argentina a week later, for the return leg in Salta.

Loose forward Siya Kolisi has also been named as the Springbok vice-captain.

Meanwhile, the Boks continued with their preparations on Wednesday with two more training sessions in the Friendly City. The squad had a split session in the morning, which consisted of field drills and gym work.

Later in the afternoon they staged a public training session at the Gelvandale Stadium on the outskirts of the City.

Position: Lock
Province/Franchise: Western Province & Stormers
Springbok number: 833
Test debut: 9 June 2012 vs England in Durban aged 20
Total tests: 57
Tour matches: 1
Total Springbok matches: 58
Win ratio: 36-19-2
Honours: SA Rugby Young Player of the Year (2012 and 2013); Nominee for IRB World Player of the Year (2013)

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