Am backs Kolisi to be ready for World Cup defence

todayJune 5, 2023 107

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Springbok centre, Lukhanyo Am, says it’s a huge blow for the Springboks that captain Siyamthanda Kolisi is a doubt for this year’s Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup in France in September.

Kolisi has been undergoing rehabilitation with the Springboks medical team following a knee surgery in May and is in a race against time if he is going to be part of the Boks’ title defence in just over three months.

The Springboks had two preparation camps in Durban in May, with Kolisi attending both. The purpose of the camps was to get their on-and-off-field structures in place for the 2023 international season.

Speaking to the media on Saturday in Soweto, Am was optimistic that his Sharks teammate would recover in time for the global showpiece in France and also added that should he not, there are a few candidates in the squad, including himself that could lead South Africa in their World Cup title defence.

“Siya’s (injury) is definitely a big blow for the team but he’s doing a lot of work with his rehab and I think he should be back in time for the World Cup but if things don’t go well. We do have a core group of leaders, but if it comes my way it does,” said the 28-year-old.

The team will once again assemble on Sunday, 11 June, to prepare for their Rugby Championship campaign, which features three matches this season, against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 8 July; New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland (Saturday, 15 July), and Argentina at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg (Saturday, 29 July).

“We’re definitely in a good spot as a team. We’ll have the official camp in the next week (Sunday). I think the coaches have got their plans in place on how we’re going to take this year,” added Am.

Coach Jacque Nienaber’s men go into the tournament with most of the team that lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in Japan in 2019 and Am believes that will also play to their advantage.

“Four years ago – we were definitely the underdogs. This year, we’re going out there to defend the World Cup but I think there biggest difference is that we’ve got more of an experienced group. The majority of the guys we had in 2019 we still have.”

South Africa are in Pool B alongside Ireland who are currently the number one ranked team in the world, as well as Scotland, Tonga, and Romania.

The Boks first match will be against Scotland on 10 September at the Stade de Marseille. Article by Ntsako Mkhari


Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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