CAPE TOWN – Siya Kolisi is seeing Western Province’s Currie Cup game against the Pumas at Newlands tomorrow as more than just a stepping stone to getting back into the Springbok mix, and that’s exactly the kind of attitude John Dobson’s team needs right now.
Dobson didn’t beat around a single bush when it came to discussing the importance of this fixture. After two losses to the Sharks and the Lions before their bye, they have to win this one. Period.
Kolisi has been with Province for three weeks now and looked in his typical high spirits during training on Monday. The Bok skipper has been out since May after suffering a knee injury towards the end of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign.
Tomorrow will mark only Kolisi’s 30th cap for WP, and his first game in the blue and white hoops since 2014.
While the 2018 season left little doubt as to who was considered the favourites to lift the domestic trophy (although the Sharks came away with it), WP will be hoping that they can emulate their result of 2017 - a season not without its stumbles for the Cape side, but which ultimately culminated in them winning their 34th Currie Cup.
Following their game against the Sharks, Dobson lamented how flat his players were. And during yesterday’s team announcement, the new Stormers coach again said they lost those two games against themselves.
But he also spoke about the influence Kolisi’s presence alone will have on the team, and on a technical front, the loose forward’s style could come in handy against a Pumas outfit that has appeared keen on spreading the ball and playing wide.
On Kolisi’s return, Dobson said: “He brings a massive security and confidence to the team, and confidence is something we’re probably a bit low on at the moment. He’s a great professional. Medically he’s good for about 40 minutes. It’s clear that he doesn’t just see this as a stepping stone, he wants to win.”
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Edwill van der Merwe.@WynonaLouw