Kolisi back to lead the Stormers ... when they take the field again

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Apr 2, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The next time the Stormers are in action, expect captain Siya Kolisi to lead them on to the field.

Kolisi was on the receiving end of a “cheap shot” from Hurricanes hooker Ricci Riccitelli in his team’s first match of the season, which saw him sustain a knee ligament tear.

He had to wear a knee brace for a number of weeks, but has been working hard on his fitness - even making use of a home gym during the national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now the Springbok skipper is getting close to peak condition, and will be one of the first World Cup stars back on the park for the Cape side - if and when Super Rugby resumes.

Stormers coach John Dobson said in a video conference yesterday that the likes of Pieter-Steph du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff and Herschel Jantjies may take a bit longer to get over their injuries.

“We are all progressing well. In three or four weeks’ time, let’s say a month - beginning of May - only Siya will be back. But end of May, it’s pretty much the whole lot. I think Kitsie and Herschel might be a week or two after that,” Dobson said. “So, the RTPs (return to play protocol), Pieter-Steph, Bongi, all early June. Siya’s back next time we play, definitely. Kitsie and Herschel, I got the report yesterday, maybe first week July, maybe June. So, in some ways, it’s good for us.

“We have psychologists and nutritionists assisting the players. But also, the Sharks are sitting with no injuries (to their Springboks) and we are sitting with five traumatic injuries - medical trauma. They weren’t soft tissue or wear and tear injuries.

“Jamie (Roberts) went to London, as his family is there, and his intention is to be back in three weeks.”

The Stormers, who lost their last two matches to the Blues and Sharks, have missed out on fixtures against the Jaguares and Rebels, and won’t be able to face the Waratahs, Sharks, Chiefs, Crusaders, Brumbies and Sunwolves over the next few rounds either.

That would take them to mid-May, which Dobson said might be the earliest possible date for a resumption of Super Rugby. The coach, though, feels that the tournament would have to start from scratch - “it would be tough on the (log leaders) Sharks”.

Siya Kolisi is still busy with rehab on his knee. Picture: Backpagepix

He added that the players are on special programmes during the lockdown period, including fitness and technical analytical work, while the franchise bosses have also given them peace of mind on the financial front - considering that a number of sports teams have been impacted negatively by the shutdown of events.

“With regards to Western Province and the Stormers, I think our leadership - and it’s not a popular narrative - have done incredibly well. The guys are feeling safe, there are no job security issues, and we have been communicated well with,” Dobson said. “They have done really well to make us as resilient as possible. I’m not just saying that - if you speak to one of our players now, they are not worried about it.

“I think if this goes on for a very long time, obviously one expects - as is happening all over the world - some form of adjustment or ‘haircut’. We are in touch with MyPlayers, who had a conference call with our players yesterday.”

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