Bok captain Siya Kolisi out of opening Championship games
Coach Rassie Erasmus wants to make sure his skipper is in good shape for the World Cup
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has been ruled out of the Rugby Championship matches against Australia and New Zealand as he recovers from a serious knee injury.
Kolisi‚ who is in the Springbok camp undergoing rehabilitation from the injury he suffered during Super Rugby‚ is also doubtful for the successive Rugby Championship matches against Argentina.
Given that the World Cup is less than three months away‚ Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus decided against rushing Kolisi back into action in the matches against Australia and the All Blacks. The Bok skipper could play a few Currie Cup matches to regain his fitness.
“We are a little more conservative with Siya to make sure that he is ready for the World Cup‚” said Erasmus. “He has more or less the same injury as Warren Whiteley who has been out for a long time.
“He is getting his scan results on Friday and we will take it from there. The most probable route is that he will come back after the scan on Friday‚ he is training with us until we get on the plane to New Zealand. Or he will stay behind to play one or two Currie Cup games before probably returning to Test rugby in our last game against Argentina.
“If we push him too early for the matches against Australia and New Zealand‚ that could create a problem with regard to the World Cup. We'd rather be conservative and make sure he goes to the World Cup.”
Erasmus is yet to decide on the man who is to lead the Boks in Kolisi’s absence but he has options among the leadership group unlike in 2018.
“In terms of captaincy‚ that brings a few role players into contention‚” he said. “PST [Pieter-Steph du Toit] will also be in contention‚ Duane Vermeulen will be one of the obvious choices‚ Beast Mtawarira needs some game time‚ Steven Kitshoff and Malcolm Marx have also captained.
“We will make the call on Monday. The captain will probably come from those guys for the first two Test matches.”
Erasmus added that he may have to rotate a few players for the first two matches because of the travelling.
“The first two games will be a challenge playing on a Saturday in SA against Australia and then flying out on a Sunday to New Zealand and only getting there on a Tuesday morning‚” he said.
“We will probably mix up the first two games in terms of personnel and when I say that it won’t necessarily be an A and B side. It is because a few guys will need game time.
“We probably can’t take the first-choice team to New Zealand because there are a few guys who would not have played a lot in recent weeks. So‚ we are going to juggle the squad in terms of how we split the two teams against Australia and New Zealand to make sure that both teams are competitive.”