Sharks flanker and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi on the bench after injuring his knee against Munster.
- The Springboks team management is confident that captain Siya Kolisi could and should be ready for the World Cup in four months.
- Kolisi went under the knife after suffering a knee injury while playing for the Sharks against Munster towards the end of April.
- It will be the second consecutive time Kolisi misses out on the World Cup build-up, with the same happening in 2019.
The Springbok team management is positive that Springbok captain Siya Kolisi will be ready for their World Cup defence in France in four months.
Kolisi had limped off with a knee injury on 22 April in the Sharks’ last United Rugby Championship pool game against Munster at Kings Park.
There was an unnecessary veil of secrecy with the extent of the injury, along with the mode of recovery needed to get him up to speed for the World Cup.
On 29 April, his wife, Rachel, revealed to television channel ENCA at the awarding of the National Orders in Pretoria that he had undergone surgery, something he later confirmed on his Instagram page.
Outgoing Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said he wasn’t in a position to explain the full extent of his injury, but said the 31-year-old loose-forward is doing well from a rehabilitation perspective to be ready for the World Cup.
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“In terms of the full extent of his knee injury, I don’t think I’m qualified medically and I think that’s something for Siya to discuss in terms of medical and personal information. I don’t think it’s my place to do that,” Nienaber said.
“In terms of where he needs to be with regards to recovery and rehabilitation, I think he’s on track and he’s hitting his markers currently.
“There will be specific markers in terms of where he needs to be on a specific day and ticking boxes, but he’s currently ticking his boxes.
“When he’ll return will depend on how he’s ticking his markers, but do we think he’ll be ready for the World Cup? Yes, we do.
“Remember that in 2019, Siya didn’t participate in matches until the Argentina game in Tshwane, from where he got a start against Japan in Japan.
“Siya’s a guy who’s done it before and we’ll give him enough time because history has shown us he doesn’t need Test match time before a World Cup.
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“He can slot in and produce performances.”
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said they won’t be replacing Kolisi as captain for the Rugby Championships in July and the World Cup warm-up games in early August, with the squad set to be announced on 8 August.
Erasmus was confident that Kolisi would be able to draw on his wells of resilience he showed in 2019 to be fit for the World Cup.
Kolisi had suffered a knee injury against the Highlanders while playing for the Stormers at the end of May.
In that year, Kolisi didn’t feature in the Rugby Championship, but got a game in against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld before the Boks departed for the World Cup.
“The bottom line is that he’s our captain and we won’t replace him in that role. We’ll have stand-ins,” Erasmus said.
“With the three warm-up games that we have, we believe that in the way that he’s hitting those markers, he may feature in one of those games.
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“Even if he’s not 100 percent ready for the Scotland Test, it’s a long way away from the World Cup final.
“With him being our captain, having been there and done that, it’s maybe the match before the World Cup.
“If he’s hitting the markers, which he’s currently doing, and we can get him with the conditioning team and we’re almost match fit in how we simulate training, he’s the kind of guy who can do it before the World Cup.
“We’re fairly confident that he can go to the World Cup.”