Bok skipper Kolisi nears return to full fitness

Siya Kolisi (Gallo)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi is nearing a return to full fitness and will almost certainly be a part of the squad that travels to Salta to take on Argentina on August 10. 

That will be South Africa's last match of this year's shortened Rugby Championship and could potentially be the decider in their efforts to win a first Rugby Championship since 2009. 

Kolisi has been struggling with a knee injury against the Highlanders during Super Rugby. 

He operated as a water assistant in the Boks' 35-17 win over the Wallabies in Johannesburg this past weekend, but he did not travel to New Zealand with the squad for the clash against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday. 

Instead, Kolisi returned to Cape Town where he has spent the week training with Western Province ahead of their Currie Cup clash against the Golden Lions at Newlands, also on Saturday. 

Kolisi was operating at full tilt in what was a high-intensity semi-contact session Thursday, getting fully involved in rucks while he was as mobile as anyone. 

Without the knowledge of his knee injury, one would have presumed the Bok skipper was fully fit. He did not look in any discomfort at all, while his workload was impressive.

Still, the decision between WP and Springbok management was that Kolisi would benefit more from another week off. 

"He's trained full out and has taken contact," WP coach John Dobson said on Thursday.

"We were medically told that he couldn't play.

"I think if we didn't have a bye next week he would definitely play. He's been fully part of it and has been tremendous.

"He's incredible."

WP and the Boks both have a break next weekend, so Kolisi's return to the field is likely to come in Argentina. 

The 2018 Currie Cup runners-ups are also boosted by the return of Dillyn Leyds, who was on the bench for the Boks against Australia but didn't get onto the park. 

Leyds will start at fullback against the Golden Lions.

"He brings a lot to the team on and off the field," said Dobson.

"Rassie was teasing me earlier about me saying he is our talisman in some ways, but he is. He epitomises how we want to to play here I guess."

Kick-off at Newlands is at 17:15

Teams:

Western Province

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 SP Marais, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 JD Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie.

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Edwill van der Merwe, 23 Sergeal Petersen

Golden Lions

15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Jan-Louis la Grange, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (captain), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sti Sithole

Substitutes: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Leo Kruger, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 James Venter, 21 Len Massyn, 22 Dillon Smit, 23 Manuel Rass

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