Pollard and Am neck and neck to lead Boks if need be

Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am have both been heavily favoured to temporarily take over as Springbok captain should Siya Kolisi be ruled out of the first Test against the British & Irish Lions.

Kolisi is a doubt for Saturday’s first Test in Cape Town as he was among the players who were self-isolating in Johannesburg after returning a positive PCR test.

ALSO READ: Springboks not concerned over potential Kolisi absence

The Springbok captain and a few of his teammates saw a specialist on Monday to determine their availability and readiness for the Test match.

The Springboks were originally scheduled to announce their team on Wednesday afternoon, but have brought it forward to Tuesday at 1:30pm, meaning that they must have some sort of clarity over whether Kolisi can play.

However, if he is ruled out, the Springboks will have a decision to make on the captaincy, as vice-captain Duane Vermeulen is also out continuing his recovery from ankle surgery.

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick name-dropped Handre Pollard, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am and Steven Kitshoff during Monday’s media conference as potential options to lead the team in Kolisi’s absence.

Following a poll run by SARugbymag.co.za, asking readers to select who they would want to lead the Springboks out on Saturday, Am and Pollard emerged as the clear favourites of the four candidates.

POLL: Who should lead the Springboks?

In fact, by Tuesday morning, Am and Pollard were neck and neck with 606 votes each, with Etzebeth and Kitshoff on 147 and 71 votes, respectively.

Am most recently captained the South Africa A team against the British & Irish Lions, while Etzebeth led the Springboks through 2017 and in a Test match against Australia in 2019.

Kitshoff took over the captaincy of the Stormers when Kolisi completed his move to the Sharks and Pollard is also part of the Springboks’ leadership group and was confirmed as a ‘vice-captain’ by Stick on Monday.

Photo: Steve Haag Sports

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Dylan Jack