Reuters2 minute reading
South Africa are confident captain Siya Kolisi will be ready for the World Cup after undergoing knee surgery last month and will give him as much time as possible to be fit even if he misses the opening games.
Kolisi suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury playing for the Sharks against Munster in the United Rugby Championship last month, but according to South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber, he is “hitting his markers” in terms of his recovery.
He said Kolisi was on track to be fit for the Word Cup, which starts in France in September, with South Africa set to defend the trophy Kolisi lifted in Japan four years ago.
“You’ll remember that Siya was also injured then and didn’t play through most of the build-up to the tournament. He didn’t lead the team when we won the Rugby Championship that year and from memory he only played off the bench in our last warm-up test in Pretoria before our departure, and then he played in the game we played against Japan in Japan two weeks before the start of the tournament, Nienaber said at a press conference on Thursday.
“We’ve been through this before and we know Siya can play at a World Cup and do a good job of leading the team because that’s what happened in 2019.”
South Africa’s director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said he hoped Kolisi could even be ready for one of the warm-up tests against Argentina, Wales and New Zealand.
Kolisi will be given the run up to the tournament to prove his fitness due to his vital role with the side. “He’s our captain,” Erasmus said. “It’s because he’s captain that we’re doing this. Even if he misses the first game against Scotland,” Erasmus said.
South Africa continue preparations for France with a camp in Pretoria next week and will name a squad of between 32 and 35 players after Saturday’s URC final between the Stormers and Munster in Cape Town.
This will be followed two weeks later by a final squad for this year’s Rugby Championship, with the Boks taking on Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
South Africa open the defense of their World Cup against Scotland on September 10 in Marseille.