Springbok captain Siya Kolisi during the captains run at Cape Town Stadium on Friday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi during the captains run at Cape Town Stadium on Friday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Siya Kolisi: Despite Covid-19 isolation, I don’t feel like I’ve been away from Boks

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Springbok captain Siya Kolisi did not experience any Covid-19 symptoms while in isolation, which is why he feels he is ready for Saturday’s first Test against the British and Irish Lions.

But he adds that he knows he will be substituted early if he shows any signs of tiredness at Cape Town Stadium (6pm kickoff).

The 30-year-old Bok skipper had to stay behind in Johannesburg while the rest of the squad moved to Cape Town a few weeks ago, and he only returned to the Mother City on Monday.

He still had to visit a specialist that day to be cleared to play – along with wing Makazole Mapimpi – and they were both able to train from Tuesday.

“It’s been good. Obviously it was tough, testing positive for Covid-19. I had to follow the protocols, and isolate and everything. But I have been in tune with the team – in every meeting online and following what the team is doing, and their prep for the week,” Kolisi said on Friday.

“I had to come back and do all the Covid tests, and I was successful in that. When I came into training, I felt really good. I was fortunate enough not to have any symptoms, so it felt like I hadn’t been away from the team for a while.

“Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of symptoms. I didn’t have anything at all – I think I was fine by the second day. So, that didn’t play a big role with me. It was more of a mental thing, isolating in the room.

“But what helped me the most is that I was still part of the meetings, talking to the team and reviewing the videos. I was adding input to the guys who were playing in the games before (this week) – talking to Marco (van Staden), making sure that Marco knows every single role before he plays.

“I was fine, because I had a lot of things to keep me positive and active during that time.”

But should he run out of puff – even in the first half, having last played against Georgia on July 2 and having not played much rugby this year anyway – the openside flank is ready to take his leave, adding that the Boks won’t be holding anything back in order to preserve themselves for the second Test.

“I do feel good, but if it gets to a place where I am tired – and they know the signs – they will take me off the field. If you’ve given everything you can and you can’t anymore, our coaches are very good at making the right subs at the right time,” Kolisi said.

“We have depth, and guys who are at home who can come in. But our main focus is this first Test. We are going to do everything in our power to make sure we win the first Test, and we will only worry about the second one after the final whistle. If guys fall out, someone else can come in.”

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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