Super Rugby

Stormers' long list of injured Springboks on track for playing return

Siya Kolisi (Gallo)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo)
  • The Stormers have returned to non-contact training at their High Performance Centre in Bellville.
  • A number of injured players are expected to be available for selection when play returns, potentially in September.
  • Siya Kolisi, who had been battling a serious knee injury, has been back training with the team already.

The Stormers have provided injury updates on a number of their high-profile Springboks and the good news is that all of them are expected to be fit and ready for a return to play, whenever that happens. 

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South Africa's professional rugby franchises returned to training on Monday but, under the government-enforced coronavirus regulations, only non-contact training in groups of no more than five is currently permitted. 

The Stormers, including Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, have returned to their High Performance Centre (HPC) in Bellville, and the franchise's medical team is pleased with the physical states of the bulk of the players. 

All of Kolisi, Steven Kitshoff, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi and Herschel Jantjies had picked up serious injuries before the 2020 Super Rugby season was suspended in March, but the lockdown period since then has provided an opportunity to recover without missing any rugby. 

Kolisi (knee) and Kitshoff (pectoral) have resumed full training, Mbonambi (hamstring) and Du Toit (thigh) will be back by the end of next week and Jantjies (leg) is expected to get onto the field by Monday. 

With a domestic competition still possible for September and the Rugby Championship to follow, that is good news for both the Stormers and the Springboks. 

There is, of course, the concern that the exact nature of the recoveries cannot be measured until contact training resumes.

"Fitness-wise, I think the guys are where we expect them to be," Stormers team doctor Jason Suter said on Monday.

"They're not where they need to be, but they're on a par with the beginning of a pre-season, and some of them actually slightly better than that. We've been pleasantly surprised.

"At the moment it's just increasing their base and their cardiovascular load as well as their strength. We will move into skills non-contact training as we progress and then, finally, contact progression when we are allowed to do that.

"Once we have a clear idea of when competition will take place, then we can plan better.

"All players are stuck in the training load and the rehabilitation load. We can't do contact progression, so until that has been completed we can't give accurate returns to play."

Contact training will only be permitted once government deems it safe. 

At the moment, the Stormers have been split up into two groups - Red and Blue - to minimise contact with each other.

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