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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

WATCH: Rehab ‘sucks’ but Springboks’ decision to keep Siya Kolisi close is helping the captain deal with fitness battle

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Cape Town – Mentally, it’s helping Springbok captain Siya Kolisi a lot that he can do his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury in the Bok camp among his peers and under the watch of the national team’s medical staff.

But he has that de ja vu feeling, having been in a similar position ahead of the 2019 World Cup when he almost missed the tournament due to a knee injury. He recovered in time, though, to lead his team to glory in Japan.

Fast-forward four years later and Kolisi is back in the Springbok camp in Pretoria, in a race against time to be fit for the 2023 tournament that kicks off in September in France.

The former Stormers and Sharks captain will potentially only be fit for his side’s second pool match at the World Cup, but he is doing everything possible to be ready for the Pool B opener against Scotland (10 September).

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The other games are against Romania (17 September), Ireland (23 September), and Tonga (1 October).

“It sucks, it’s not nice to be in this position,” Kolisi said on Tuesday as he faced the media for the first time since his injury and resulting surgery.

“But the nice thing is, I have been here before with both coach Jacques (Nienaber) and Rassie (Erasmus). And it’s a good feeling to be supported like this. The medical team is working really hard.

“Other guys in the team have been through the same thing as well, which is helping quite a lot.”

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Normally players will be doing their rehab on their own, and away from teammates, but Kolisi is in the fortunate position, as there are no other rugby commitments for them, to be surrounded by his peers while doing his rehab.

It also allows Nienaber and his staff to keep tabs on Kolisi’s progress from inside the camp and not have to rely on others to feed information to the Boks on where the captain finds himself in his recovery process.

“If I wasn’t here, I would’ve missed out on a lot that the group is doing,” the Bok captain added.

“I’ve got guys that I can lean on, like RG (Snyman), Handré (Pollard), and Pieter-Steph (du Toit) who I have been speaking to a lot. They’ve done knees as well. It’s been really good.

“I feel good. Obviously, each day is different. But I take it day by day. I have been here before and have been through this. I am feeling good and confident that I will be fine.”

@Leighton_K

IOL Sport

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