WATCH: Springboks ‘hopeful’ about Siya Kolisi and Handre Pollard’s fitness

Jared Wright
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and flyhalf Handre Pollard.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and flyhalf Handre Pollard.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber is hopeful that the captain Siya Kolisi and Handre Pollard will be fit again before the Rugby World Cup.

The pair were both included in South Africa’s initial Rugby Championship squad but have missed the opening two games through injury.

Both players are in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup, with Kolisi sustaining a knee injury in the Sharks’ United Rugby Championship draw against Munster.

The flanker underwent knee surgery shortly afterwards and has been monitored closely by the Springboks medical team.

Meanwhile, Pollard sustained a calf injury ahead of Leicester Tigers’ Premiership semi-final against the Sale Sharks.

He re-injured the same calf in training with the Boks leading to the recall of Elton Jantjies and Manie Libbok, and Damian Willemse starting the first two Tests of the year at flyhalf.

Possible return before the World Cup

Having arrived back in South Africa following their 35-20 defeat to New Zealand in Auckland, Nienaber spoke to the media and shed some light on the pair’s fitness.

The Springboks face Argentina at Ellis Park next week before tackling the Pumas in Buenos Aires on August 5 in their first Rugby World Cup warm-up clash.

They then face Wales and New Zealand before the World Cup kicks off.

“I got told that somewhere I said that Handre [Pollard] and Siya [Kolisi] will play against Wales, but the main thing is we didn’t think they would make Rugby Championship,” Nienaber clarified.

“But after that, in the warm-up games, hopefully.

“Like I mentioned now, with rehab, you start a process or a rehab programme, and then let’s say there is swelling or there is a loss of range of movement or whatever reason, you probably go a step back.

 

“So if everything goes well, hopefully, they’ll make the warm-up game against Wales, and again, I reiterate hopefully, but it’s something you can’t predict and can’t manage.

Will not be pushed

He added that the Springboks’ coaches would not be rushing the pair.

“The one thing I can definitely tell you. We will not push, and we will not force them to play,” he said.

“If they’re not medically right and clear and confident, obviously confidence is something that they will try and get out of training sessions, and then they will probably have to build their confidence in games, but hopefully, we can get them [back before the World Cup.”

Nienaber also provided an update on loosehead prop Ox Nche, who pulled out of the open against Australia through injury.

“Ox is doing well, he is back in camp after two weeks out, and he’ll probably be out for another four weeks or so,” he said.

The Springboks are in Pretoria preparing for their final Rugby Championship match against Argentina, knowing that they need Australia to defeat New Zealand and for them to beat Argentina to lift the title.

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