Here’s how to pick a captain – Woodward

The Springboks are expected to unveil a new coach in the coming weeks, and one of his first tasks will be to decide on a captain, presumably to lead South Africa to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Allister Coetzee went with Warren Whiteley after Adriaan Strauss retired from Test rugby in the wake of the worst season in team history. And when the Lions greyhound broke down, Eben Etzebeth was promoted.

Siya Kolisi was a fan-favourite for the job in 2017 and the peerless pedigree of Malcolm Marx makes him an obvious candidate.

Duane Vermeulen has been linked with a return to the Stormers and, if Rassie Erasmus has the final say on the matter, the bruising No 8 will be on the shortlist to run Friday sessions.

While the Boks have lost their spring under Coetzee, England have rebounded spectacularly under Eddie Jones. The former Australia and Japan coach has, to the consternation of some, been unwavering in his choice of captain, abrasive hooker Dylan Hartley.

Sunday Times rugby scribe Stephen Jones has accused the England coach of “having tunnel vision”. England have won 22 of 23 Tests since 2016.

Clive Woodward, who knows a thing or two about winning, having guided England to a world title in 2003, likes the call to back Hartley, despite a track record of disciplinary issues.

“Eddie Jones was unambiguous in his backing of captain Dylan Hartley earlier this week… and rightly so,” Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“The relationship between an international coach and his captain, like any selection issue, is an art not a science. Jones and Hartley clearly works, as their record of just one defeat in two years testifies. I like Hartley as a player and a captain and I say that as one who has backed him all the way since his controversial appointment two years ago. It has worked and both Jones and Hartley should be applauded.

“Hartley is Eddie’s man, a player who has never once let him down either as a captain or as hooker.”

During his term, Woodward picked Lawrence Dallaglio and then Martin Johnson to lead England, and he did so based on the following weighted, five-point checklist:

1) 50 percent weighting: Is the player an automatic first choice who will play every minute and get into any team in the world?

2) 20%: Do I trust the player to deliver what my team will represent on and off the pitch. When I am not in the room, what will he be saying?

3) 10%: Does he have the unequivocal respect of the team in how he operates as a professional?

4) 10%: Does he have the ability to perform under pressure and make the big decisions at critical moments? Is he prepared to learn this skill? Ideally, he will also captain his club side successfully.

5) 10%: Do I enjoy his company? We do not need to be mates but we do need to have an ongoing relationship and consistent dialogue on everything to do with the team.

The Bok coach will have his own checklist, but if Woodward’s five points are applied to South Africa’s leading candidates, who comes out on top?

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

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  • Peter

    Clive Woodward’s five points make a whole lot of sense….and now we can more fully understand why England won the RWC when he was at the helm.
    I think Jones has it spot on supporting Dylan Hartley…..a Bismarck du Plessis type who lays it all out there when he puts on the rose jersey!!!!

  • Sharky

    I like those criteria. It seems that Woodward sees his captain as a 2IC (second in command), or at least his highest ranked non-commissioned officers – the leader of the men who represents the coach and ensures that his orders are followed and his vision is respected, but is not part of the officer (coaching) class.

    Was Woodward a military man? Seem like it

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