Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi’s injury update is a massive boost for his World Cup hopes

Dylan Coetzee
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi celebrates

Springbok management have confirmed that inspirational skipper Siya Kolisi is on track to return from injury in time for the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Kolisi’s World Cup hopes were thrown into severe doubt when the flanker suffered a serious knee injury in his final home game for the Sharks in April. He has since had successful knee surgery and issued a positive update on his social media.

Hopeful for return during warm-up

Director of Springbok rugby Rassie Erasmus hopes the team leader will be able to return to play during one of the three warm-up Tests for South Africa.

The defending champions will be taking on Argentina away from home on August 5 before facing Wales in Cardiff on August 19 and finally the All Blacks at Twickenham a week later.

Erasmus suggested that Kolisi will still be in the World Cup mix even if he is not fit and ready for their opener against Scotland on September 10.

“We are hoping that Siya can play in one of those three warm-up matches. Even if he is not 100 percent ready for the Scotland test, it’s a long way to the final of the World Cup,” Erasmus said.

“And being our captain, and having been there and done that, he’s maybe the one guy you can say (be ready for) the match before the World Cup. He is the kind of guy that can do it, like in the previous one (where he also had a knee injury before the 2019 tournament).”

The Springboks also have the world number one ranked Ireland in their pool, meaning that their opener against Scotland could be decisive in the race to the knockout stages.

Big Scotland Test

Erasmus admits beating the Scots would give the side some breathing space and he labelled the clash as their biggest Test.

“Sometimes I think we are putting our head too far ahead. In our 2019 pool, we had New Zealand. And yes, you have two ‘small teams’ who on their day, they can shock you,” Erasmus said.

“But common sense tells us that if you plan well and play well (you should beat them). But we play Scotland in our first game, and if we beat Scotland, we probably have a bit more breathing space in the rest of the pool.

“Everybody’s going ‘Ireland, Ireland, Ireland’, but if you look at it the other way around…

“We lost to New Zealand (in 2019), and New Zealand probably had a little bit of pressure off them knowing that. I don’t want to pick between New Zealand and France for the quarter-final – let destiny pick that!

“We play against New Zealand often, and we are playing against them twice this year. So, I think people are underestimating the value of the Scotland game.

“And I think Scotland are probably going, ‘Hey, why are you guys not talking about us?’. They will probably have about seven or eight South African-born players in their team.

“Scotland and Ireland may go, ‘We play each other in the last pool match’, so they will probably have to win their last pool match, a quarter-final and semi-final in a row to go to a final.

“Ireland is important. Yes, they’re going to be big. But I think the Scottish Test match, in my opinion, is probably the biggest Test match for us currently.”

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