Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

‘It felt amazing’ — Siya Kolisi on his action-packed return

Any worries on how his knee would hold up were dispelled almost immediately as he went straight into contact.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was absolutely thrilled with an action-packed return to play as he put in a fantastic 40-minute shift in his first game back from a serious knee injury, helping his side to a big 52-16 win over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Kolisi’s miraculous recovery to play from an ACL injury that needed surgery was confirmed on Tuesday when the Boks named him in their run on side for the World Cup warm-up.

ALSO READ: Springboks destroy Wales in Cardiff – Four talking points

Any worries on how his knee would hold up were dispelled almost immediately as he went straight into contact with a big carry in the third minute, before freeing his arms and putting Malcolm Marx away for the game’s opening try.

After the match Kolisi admitted that it was the team’s high intensity training sessions that helped prepare him perfectly for his impressive return.

No fear

“It felt amazing. I didn’t have any fear going into the game and I think our training sessions prepared me very well,” explained Kolisi.

“I remember doing a contact session and I asked the guy to hit me a little bit softer. But Pieter-Steph (du Toit) walked up to me and told me to trust my knee and that I will be fine.

“You can’t buy those kinds of things, especially from somebody who has been through that. So it was really good to have the support of him, RG (Snyman) and Handre (Pollard).

Satisfied captain

Kolisi was satisfied with the team’s performance, but added that they needed to build on the showing in their final warm-up match against the All Blacks on Friday.

“I thought we did well. Our discipline could have been much better, especially in the first half. But what we wanted to do was stay disciplined in the system and I think we did that well. Next week we have to do it again,” said Kolisi.

The captain claimed that although it looked like an easy win it was anything but, singling out fullback Willie le Roux for particular praise while admitting that it was largely down to their hard work.

‘Ridiculous Willie’

“A guy like Willie is ridiculous. He speaks to me the whole time, he organises everyone and sees things that we don’t see. He told me (before the Marx try) that he was going to shoot up and I must keep my feet and he would give me the ball,” said Kolisi.

“Exactly what he said happened and I managed to get my hands free and Malcolm was waiting for the ball.  

“So it wasn’t easy at all. That didn’t happen by luck. We train that and we studied them. All that we do in the week and the clips that the coaches show us, we watch every single guy in their team to see how they defend. It’s just how we work together and the preparation that we do.”

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