Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus believe that captain Siya Kolisi will be fit and raring to go for the Rugby World Cup kicking off in France in September.
Kolisi suffered a serious knee injury during the Sharks’ final pool match of this season’s United Rugby Championship against Munster and had to undergo surgery which put his World Cup aspirations in jeopardy.
Asked at a Springbok media conference on Thursday whether they believed Kolisi would make it to France, both Nienaber and Erasmus were in the affirmative.
‘He is on track’
“In terms of where he has to be from a recovery and rehab point of view he is on track and currently hitting his markers. If he manages to keep ticking all his boxes medically we believe he will be ready for the World Cup,” said Nienaber.
“If we go back to 2019, Siya didn’t participate in any matches throughout the Rugby Championship because he was also carrying an injury. We played him in the Argentina Test off the bench and his first start was in that warm up game against Japan just before the World Cup.
“So from that perspective Siya is a guy who has done it before and we will give him as much time as possible (to prove his fitness). History has shown us he doesn’t need to play Tests before a World Cup to come in and produce performances.”
Erasmus backed up Nienaber’s statement, explaining that Kolisi was their captain and that they backed him to lead the Boks at the showpiece event.
“The bottom line is that he is our captain and we won’t be replacing him as yet. We will have stand-in captains because at this stage with the three warm up games that we have (before the World Cup), we are hoping that with the way he is hitting those markers he will play in one of those matches,” explained Erasmus.
“Even if he isn’t 100% ready for the Scotland (opening World Cup) Test match, it is still a long way to the final of the World Cup.
“With him being our captain and having been there and done that, he is the one person we can say if he can play in maybe the match before the World Cup, he can still make it. So we are fairly confident he will make the World Cup.”