Cape Town – Could Siya Kolisi continue with his Springbok career after the 2023 Rugby World Cup?
The Bok captain announced in early January that he was joining French club Racing 92 from the Sharks on a three-year contract, following the South Africans’ title defence in France in September and October.
This has led to speculation that Kolisi – who turns 32 in June this year and has 75 caps to his name – could decide to retire from Test rugby at the end of the World Cup.
But the Sharks loose forward, speaking at a press conference during a break from the Bok training camp in Cape Town on Tuesday, said that he was not looking too far ahead at this stage.
“I feel really strong, and I have been playing with the Sharks. It was great for me… It was tough to move, but when I got there, I had six weeks of training without a rugby ball – just to get me fit, because after the World Cup, I was injured very quickly and I was overweight,” Kolisi said.
“Honestly, I wasn’t performing as well as I should be at the Stormers. It was tough for me to leave – I never thought I would’ve left the Stormers. But it helped me, and it took me a while to get my groove going.
“I feel like I am getting better the older I am getting, and it’s all due to preparation – and my body feels good too.
“So, my whole focus is just making sure that when I get back to the Sharks now, I play well and keep contributing, and I hopefully make the World Cup squad. That’s all I am focusing on now.”
The Bok skipper has been in fine form at Test level over the last 12 months and in the few Sharks games he’s played, and is relishing the opportunity to have a mid-season break in a World Cup year.
He has been spotted supporting the Proteas Women’s cricket team at the recent ICC T20 World Cup at Newlands, but it hasn’t been all fun and games in Cape Town.
“It’s been great. We had a month off, and that was good for us. I think some of us have been playing since last year January, and we ended this year January… It’s something we’ve never done before,” Kolisi said.
“Saru and the unions came to an agreement that some players can get off, and it’s been really good. But the training has been tough! We’ve enjoyed it… We’ve enjoyed the recapping – looking at where we were, what our goals were the year before, and seeing how far we’ve gone and if we’ve achieved the goals or not.”