Siya Kolisi: Springbok captain ‘will do everything possible to return to action’ says Jacques Nienaber

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Siya Kolisi SA v Italy ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Siya Kolisi SA v Italy ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

SA Rugby have revealed that they will be monitoring Springbok captain Siya Kolisi’s rehabilitation after he had an operation on his right knee last week.

The 31-year-old back-row was forced off the field in his final home game for the Sharks – a 22-22 draw with Munster – with a knee injury, throwing his World Cup participation in doubt.

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Kolisi underwent surgery on Friday and Springbok team doctor Jerome Mampane and his medical team will continue to monitor his recovery and rehabilitation.

The operation means Kolisi will be in a race to be fit for the Springboks’ defence of their World Cup title in France.

Too early to predict his return to action

Mampane revealed that is too early to make any reliable forecasts on when Kolisi may be able to return to action.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber said: “We wish Siya well during his recovery and we know that he will do everything possible to return to play soon as possible.”

South Africa start their Rugby World Cup campaign on Sunday, September 10, against Scotland in Marseille, before facing Romania in Bordeaux (September 17), Ireland in Paris (September 23) and Tonga in Marseille (October 1) in their other pool matches.

The Boks are set to announce their 33-man squad for the global showpiece early in August.

Kolisi’s absence means the Boks will have a new captain during the upcoming Rugby Championship.

Fly-half Handre Pollard and second-row Eben Etzebeth have emerged as the front-runners to take over the captaincy, with both players having led the side previously.

Meanwhile, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander congratulated Kolisi on behalf after the Bok skipper received the national order of Ikhamanga, which recognises South African citizens who have excelled in sport, arts, culture, literature, music and journalism.

Kolisi, who guided the Boks to World Cup glory in Japan in 2019 and a series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2021, is one of five individuals who received the order of Ikhamanga, bestowed in gold, from South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for his inspirational leadership and contribution to rugby.

Proud of his achievements

“As an organisation, we are very proud of our captain and his achievements in rugby,” said Alexander.

“Siya is a beacon of hope for thousands of young boys and girls in our country, and he is living proof that it is about choice, not chance that determines your destiny. He is a true ambassador for rugby, and he epitomises the values we stand for as SA Rugby and the Springboks.

“The order of Ikhamanga is one of the highest honors an individual can receive in South Africa and to be bestowed with this award in such a big year for the Springboks, in which they will attempt to defend their World Cup title in France and become the first team ever to win four titles, makes this even more special.”

Kolisi is delighted to be honoured with the national order of Ikhamanga.

“This is a huge honour and looking at the caliber of the other individuals who received this award as well, makes it even more special,” he said.

“While I am immensely proud, I have to thank my team-mates and the Springbok coaching team for their role in the team’s success in the last few years, because without them, this would not have been possible.

“I hope this award inspires the youth of the country to pursue their dreams no matter how challenging their circumstances are in life. Through passion, determination, and hard work anything is possible.”

READ MORE: Siya Kolisi: Springbok skipper may recover in time for Rugby World Cup after successful knee surgery

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