Cape Town - When Siya Kolisi stayed down during the second half against the All Blacks on Saturday, it was a scary time for Springbok fans – and even scarier for the man himself.
The Bok skipper was on the ground at a breakdown after being stopped by All Black counterpart Ardie Savea, with lock Brodie Retallick also entering the tackle situation, and the No 6 was down with his arms stretched out.
It looked like he was badly hurt with a neck injury, but fortunately, he could be seen speaking to the Bok medical staff as he was being treated.
Kolisi walked off the field and was replaced by Jasper Wiese, and the South Africans went on to record a memorable 31-29 triumph at the Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.
But in the moment, the 30-year-old feared the worst. “I’m good, I’m good. I was also shocked – I was freaking out. I thought I wouldn’t be able to play again. I have never been so scared in a rugby game before,” Kolisi said on Tuesday at the adidas ‘Impossible is Nothing’ event at the Cape Town Stadium.
“But I don’t know how Rachel felt, because she sent me a message, and when I replied back, she said ‘Thank God!’ – because she thought I wouldn’t be fine. But I’m good, the body’s good, and I have recovered well.
“(I received) Actually only probably three (WhatsApp messages), and everything else was about ‘Well done on the game’ – they didn’t care about my injury!”
Wife Rachel Kolisi expressed their emotions about the incident on Instagram soon after Saturday’s match, with a few screengrabs and a video of Siya on the pitch.
“I don’t ever wish moments like this on anyone. When you see them go down like that, It’s so hard to put into words what it feels like, but scary and helpless are probably a good place (to) start. Specially when your kids are very aware of what’s going on too,” Rachel said.
“I’ve sat next to many others that have experienced those same moments, some were fine, some had lengthy injuries and others never played the game again.
”I think we often forget these men and women put their bodies on the line for this game and things can change in a moment. I celebrate and thank Jesus everytime Siya walks off the field safely, today a little more. FINALLY ITS HOME TIME!!”
Kolisi and the Springboks arrived back in South Africa on Monday, and will have a few weeks off before they embark on the three-Test end-of-year tour to Europe, which kicks off against Wales in Cardiff on November 6.