Racing 92 plot huge deal to bring South Africa captain Siya Kolisi to France after 2023 World Cup

Skipper: Siya Kolisi  (REUTERS)
Skipper: Siya Kolisi (REUTERS)

French giants Racing 92 are pushing hard to recruit South Africa captain Siya Kolisi in a deal to start after the 2023 World Cup.

World Cup-winning flanker Kolisi’s current contract with the Sharks runs until 2027, with the 31-year-old having only extended his deal in May.

Parisian aristocrats Racing would have to shell out a significant fee to prise Kolisi out of his Sharks deal for a permanent switch.

The Springboks skipper could however seek a short-term sabbatical that would allow a potential 12-month stint away from South Africa in France.

The 74-cap back-rower led South Africa to World Cup glory in Japan in 2019, and will spearhead his nation’s defence of the William Webb Ellis Cup in France next year.

The end of the World Cup cycle will be the prime opportunity for experienced Test stars like Kolisi to ply their trade in Europe, and the respected South Africa skipper will not be short of offers.

But Racing are at the front of that queue, Standard Sport understands, should Kolisi look to make the move.

South Africa will close out their 2022 campaign by taking on England at Twickenham on Saturday, with Kolisi doubtless determined to see the Springboks finish on a high.

The reigning world champions have lost to both France and Ireland on their northern hemisphere tour, but hit back with a 63-21 thumping of Italy on Saturday.

South Africa will be without rugby director Rassie Erasmus at Twickenham on Saturday, after the World Cup-winning coach’s latest ban for social media criticism of officials.

The former Munster boss was banned from all match-day activities for two games after his posts in the wake of South Africa’s 30-26 loss to France in Paris on November 12.

Erasmus was hit with a two-month ban for his critical videos during the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021.

World Rugby’s latest suspension has led to stinging criticism of Erasmus from a number of former Springboks, though the South African Rugby Union (SARU) has so far kept its counsel on the matter.

England will take an unchanged wider training squad into the week’s build-up ahead of their final Test of 2022, off the back of Saturday’s 25-25 draw with New Zealand.

Boss Eddie Jones has hinted at starting three main lineout options to counter South Africa’s pack dominance, which could mean a start for David Ribbans at lock and Maro Itoje shifting out to flanker.