Kolisi finding form with extended game time

Kolisi finding form with extended game time

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi is finding form and fitness having played a full 80 minutes against Italy last week.

Siya Kolisi
Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets

Almost six weeks ago Kolisi was in a race against time to return to fitness having suffered a knee injury during the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign. While it might not have been made clear at the time, there were doubts that the Springbok captain would recover in time for the World Cup.

In the following weeks, the Springbok medical team worked to get Kolisi back on the park and by the time the team left for Japan the skipper had already made an appearance off the Western Province bench in the Currie Cup.

Kolisi featured against Japan in their only Rugby World Cup warm-up before starting against the All Blacks in their opening match of the tournament.

The skipper only played 50 minutes in the 23-13 loss to the reigning World Champions. Kolisi was then selected on the bench against Namibia and got a good 30 minutes of game time in Toyota.

Following that, Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus elevated Kolisi back into the starting lineup to lead the side in a must-win clash against Italy. A few pundits suggested that Kolisi should have started against Namibia as well, but it mattered little as the skipper put in a solid performance against the Azzurri.

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Speaking after the team announcement on Sunday, Erasmus said that Kolisi is beginning to return to his best and they were looking to give the skipper as much game time as possible ahead of the quarterfinals of the competition.

"Siya played a full 80 last week and I thought he was wonderful. It was his best game since he’s back from injury. He will roll on now, and the plan was always to get him to the World Cup and that knee holds up,” Erasmus said.

"Then it was to try to get him fit for the New Zealand game, and then get him to play 80 minutes. I think he can play a full 80 minutes now, and his form is back to where it was. I guess to take him off the field now will just start the process all over again, as he is not really a guy that has a lot of minutes under his belt, compared to the other loose forwards in the team.”

"He is not overplayed, so I guess the more game time, the better for him. In the last game, he was really excellent.”

Kolisi echoed those sentiments in his captain’s press conference on Monday at the Kobe Misaki Stadium. 

“Physically I’m feeling good. The form is getting better and better. I put a lot of pressure on myself and expect a lot from myself I’m always looking for work,” Kolisi said.

The Springboks meet Canada on Tuesday. Kickoff is at 12h15 South African time.

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