Kolisi to be first black South Africa Test captain

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Siya Kolisi will become the first black Test captain of South Africa when he leads them in a three-Test series against England in June, coach Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus announced Monday.

The 26-year-old flanker, who skippers Super Rugby team Western Stormers and has played 28 Tests, replaces the injured Warren Whiteley.

In 2006, Chiliboy Ralepelle became the first black to skipper the South African national team, against a World XV in England, but the match did not have Test status.

Pieter-Steph du Toit will lead South Africa in a one-off Test against Wales in Washington this Saturday before the England series.

Kolisi and many other likely first choices for the England series will remain in South Africa to prepare for a series starting on June 9.

"It is a huge honour to captain the Springboks and Siya and Pieter-Steph are two honest, hard-working men who enjoy the respect of their fellow players," Erasmus told reporters.

"I believe both of them will do a good job as captains.

"My philosophy is that each player must take responsibility for his position and work extremely hard with one goal in mind -- to make the Springboks successful again."

Kolisi was born in a township near eastern coastal city Port Elizabeth and made his Test debut off the bench against Scotland five years ago.