Siya Kolisi is ready to make his long-awaited return for the Springboks in the World Cup warm-up against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Kolisi’s participation at the tournament in France was thrown into doubt when he went under the knife for a knee injury suffered while playing for the Sharks towards the end of the domestic season.
Now back in training, the inspirational captain only has two warm-up games to pick up momentum before the global tournament gets underway.
The first of those two matches is on Saturday, when the Springboks take on Wales in Cardiff.
During an online press conference from the Welsh capital, scrum coach Daan Human was asked whether the Boks were under pressure to give Kolisi, as well as the similarly game-shy Jaden Hendrikse and Ox Nche, minutes this weekend.
“I don’t think there’s pressure on us to do that, but it is maybe a question for later in the week for Jacques [Nienaber] or Rassie [Erasmus] to answer,” said Human.
“We have tried to be fair to them as well and getting them into a strong position to be considered for the first Test of the World Cup against Scotland. But as I said, Jacques will answer that later this week.”
Pressed specificially on Kolisi’s availability, Human was far more positive and it appears that the Boks could welcome their skipper back into the matchday squad which was set to be announced on Tuesday.
“Last week, Siya trained with us fully. Naturally, players don’t just come back and play 80 minutes from the get-go,” said Human.
“I think Siya is in a very good place. He is taking contact and he scrummed with us as well. He has given us everything, which we expect. In my department, I am very happy with what I’ve seen. Hopefully, he can put in a good shift, whether that is this weekend or next weekend, because we don’t know when he is going to be let loose.
“I just think that he is one of the dogs you want in the fight, whenever he does get set loose.”
Should Kolisi be named in the matchday squad, it would mark an incredible recovery, just 113 days after he underwent surgery.
According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, so keen were Springboks fans to see Kolisi back in time for the World Cup, that they offered to donate the loose forward a tendon for his operation.
However, the surgeon who worked on Kolisi was able to complete the surgery in Cape Town without a donor.
Photo: Wikus de Wet/AFP