Springboks captain Kolisi to return against Argentina
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Springboks captain Siya Kolisi will play some part in the Rugby World Cup warmup test against Argentina this weekend, coach Rassie Erasmus said on Monday, with little time left for the flanker to prove his fitness.
Kolisi was out for two months with a knee injury but returned to action with provincial side Western Province in a Currie Cup game on Friday.
Erasmus said Kolisi will be involved against Argentina in Pretoria on Saturday “but it will be limited minutes.”
“We won’t rush him,” Erasmus said. “We need to carefully manage his return.”
Kolisi was the first black player to be appointed captain of South Africa’s rugby team.
He needs game time after missing the victorious Rugby Championship campaign.
The Springboks face Argentina at home and play Japan in Japan in warmup games before lining up against defending champion New Zealand in their first match at the World Cup on Sept. 21.
“He (Kolisi) is a guy we desperately want to be involved on Saturday and we will involve him,” Erasmus said after the Springboks squad returned home from Argentina with the Rugby Championship trophy.
South Africa beat Argentina 46-13 away in Salta on Saturday to clinch the southern hemisphere title for the first time since 2009.
“Winning a trophy wasn’t something we had done for a while so that was great but in a few months there’s a bigger one to win and that’s our main aim,” Erasmus said. “We have got some momentum and (are) developing consistency and that’s very important to us.”
Saturday’s test against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld could also be Erasmus’ last in charge at home if he keeps a promise he made to step aside as head coach after the World Cup in Japan.
Erasmus has been combining roles as director of rugby and coach and said last year he would return to his director job with SA Rugby full time after the World Cup.
Erasmus has turned the Springboks around since taking over in early 2018 and they’ve beaten the world champion All Blacks 36-34 and drawn 16-16 in their last two games in New Zealand.
In 2017, South Africa lost 57-0 in New Zealand — a record defeat for the Springboks — under former coach Allister Coetzee.