Springboks sweating on Siya Kolisi’s fitness

Date published: July 19 2021 - David Skippers

Siya Kolisi must pass a medical assessment before he is able to lead South Africa into Saturday’s first Test against the British and Irish Lions.

Kolisi was one of 14 Springboks to test positive for coronavirus, forcing him to self-isolate in Johannesburg for 10 days, and only on Monday has he been able to join up with the world champions’ squad in Cape Town.

South Africa’s 2019 World Cup-winning captain, along with wing Makazole Mapimpi, faces lung and heart tests to assess his fitness and, if cleared by a specialist, he will resume training on Tuesday.

“They will go for the final test today (Monday). Anything can happen in terms of results. Some positive news would be good,” assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said.

“We trust the protocols in place and won’t do anything stupid. We’ve got great players in our squad so if Siya is not fit, we trust the other guys to play in that position.

“A guy like Rynhardt Elstadt, currently he is winning everything in front of him. Marco van Staden we saw against the Bulls on Saturday. Jasper Wiese… any of those guys can be selected and we’d trust them to do a job for us.”

Handre Pollard close to return

Fly-half Handre Pollard, another of the Springboks who tested positive, has revealed he faced only minor disruption after being infected during the outbreak that forced the cancellation of the second Test against Georgia.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, so I got back to training pretty quickly. Physically I’m ok. It was very strict once we went into the Covid wing of the hotel,” Pollard said.

“The first five, six days were spent in the room, giving your body time to fight whatever it’s got to fight. Then we were provided with the necessary gym equipment in our rooms.

“There is no way we are not going to be ready, playing against the British and Irish Lions, playing for your country.

“Emotionally, physically we are all fine. We’ve had hard weeks of training. The way we train is harder than the game, so we’ll be ready for whatever comes our way on Saturday.”