Although a few eyebrows must have been raised when Bongi Mbonambi was named the Springbok captain for Saturday’s test against Argentina, Jacques Nienaber is satisfied with the choice.
In the absence of Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth have already led the South Africans on the field this year and now it is the 32-year-old forward’s turn to wear the captaincy armband in Buenos Aires.
“As a hooker, Bongi is the guy who often comes into contact with the referee – especially when it comes to lineouts and scrums,” said Nienaber.
According to the Springbok coach, Mbonambi possesses excellent communication skills and this will be particularly useful in his new role as captain.
“Bongi is not someone who tolerates nonsense and he is a player who definitely leads from the front. He doesn’t change anything and you know exactly where you stand with him. His leadership skills have undoubtedly stood out to me since I came back in 2018.
“People follow him because he is not someone who says one thing and then does something else; he does what he promised to do.”
Mbonambi made his Springbok debut against Ireland in Gqeberha in 2016; a game that the South Africans won 19 – 13.
Since then, he has represented South Africa in 59 tests, scoring 12 tries in the green and gold.
“There is an aura around Bongi and I am proud of him.”
Springboks: Damian Willemse (full back), Canan Moodie (right wing), Lukhanyo Am (outside centre), André Esterhuizen (inside centre), Makazole Mapimpi (left wing), Manie Libbok (fly-half), Cobus Reinach (scrum-half), Jasper Wiese (eighth man), Franco Mostert (flank), Deon Fourie (flank), Marvin Orie (lock), Jean Kleyn (lock), Thomas du Toit (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (captain and hooker) and Trevor Nyakane (prop). Substitutes: Joseph Dweba, Gerhard Steenekamp, Vincent Koch, Jean-Luc du Preez, Evan Roos, Herschel Jantjies, Jesse Kriel and Kurt-Lee Arendse.