Siya Kolisi to make long-awaited Racing 92 debut against European champions

Dylan Coetzee
Siya Kolisi celebrates following 2023 Rugby World Cup final win.

Siya Kolisi celebrates following 2023 Rugby World Cup final win.

Double Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi has been named in the starting lineup for Racing 92 for the first time as the Parisian side prepares to face La Rochelle on Sunday.

The great captain confirmed he was trading the United Rugby Championship for the Top 14 earlier this year before a knee injury on his last home game threatened to rule him out of the World Cup.

Kolisi, as he always has, showed incredible determination and commitment in his rehabilitation to return months before schedule just in time for the start of the tournament. Any concerns he was undercooked quickly evaporated when he assisted a try in the first five minutes of his return in a warm-up against Wales.

Fast-forward through to the end of October and the inspirational Springbok leader became just the second captain to lift back-to-back World Cups, putting his name next to All Blacks legend Richie McCaw.

Delayed start

Since the tournament concluded, Kolisi has been slowly integrated into the Racing set-up, with an initial unveiling followed by a trip to the USA where he held a fundraiser for the Kolisi Foundation.

The excitement in the French capital became tangible when the Springbok was seen in the stands alongside Chelsea captain Reece James last weekend during Racing’s 13-9 win over Stade Francais.

The wait is officially over as one of rugby’s biggest names will don the blue and white this weekend.

Not the only new face

Another international beginning his journey in Paris is Englishman Henry Arundell, who set the Top14 alight on his debut earlier this month by bagging a hat-trick of tries.

The former London Irish star has interestingly been named at full-back this weekend, instead of his regular position on the wing. It was be fascinating to see how Arundell goes in the 15 shirt and England boss Steve Borthwick will no doubt be watching with a keen eye.

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