Cape Town – It took them a few days, but the Springbok management have eventually acknowledged the serious injury to captain Siya Kolisi.
The openside flank sustained a knee ligament injury on Saturday, April 22 already in the early stages of the Sharks’ United Rugby Championship clash against Munster in Durban.
Kolisi combined superbly with Lukhanyo Am down the right-hand touchline, and wasn’t far from the tryline when he was tackled, and it looked like the studs on his right boot got stuck in the Kings Park pitch.
He stayed down and received intensive treatment, but strangely had his right knee strapped up instead of leaving the field.
Kolisi played on for just a few more minutes before eventually going off. Hopes were raised that it wasn’t too serious when he walked around the field to greet the crowd at the end of the match, as it was the last URC home game for the Sharks as they ended eighth on the log following the 22-22 draw with Munster.
They will travel to Dublin this week to take on perennial favourites Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (6pm SA time kickoff) without Kolisi, though.
The loose forward then spent the next few days seeking opinions of various specialists as media speculation mounted that he could be ruled out of the Rugby World Cup, which starts in France in September.
The two options on the table were going for an operation, which could keep him sidelined for up to nine months, or undergo rehabilitation and hope the injury heals within four months to enable Kolisi to lead the Boks for the defence of their world title.
But last Friday, it emerged that the 31-year-old had chosen to go for the surgery in Cape Town. IOL Sport reported later in the day that a source close to the player had said that the skipper actually had a good chance of being fit in time for the World Cup.
Since then, Kolisi and his wife Rachel have posted videos and pictures of him in hospital and then leaving to begin his recovery, and they have thanked the supporters for all the good wishes.
SA Rugby have belatedly sent out a statement on Wednesday about the situation, explaining that they would monitor Kolisi’s rehabilitation.
“Springbok team doctor Jerome Mampane and his medical team will continue to monitor his recovery and rehabilitation. Mampane said it was too early to make any reliable forecasts on when Kolisi may be able to return to play,” the statement read.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber was then quoted as saying: “We wish Siya well during his recovery, and we know that he will do everything possible to return to play as soon as possible.”
The Boks still have to wait for a while to begin their build-up to the World Cup, with their first Test match of 2023 only happening on July 8, against the Wallabies in Pretoria to kickoff their Rugby Championship campaign.
But before that, there will be numerous training and alignment camps, starting later this month, and increasing in volume depending on how far the Stormers, Bulls and Sharks progress in the URC.