Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has hinted that he was worried about proving his fitness in time to make the World cup squad.
Kolisi missed South Africa’s Rugby Championship campaign through a serious knee injury and had only returned to action in the Boks’ warm-up against Argentina a fortnight ago.
On Monday, he was confirmed as one of the 31 squad members for World Cup and also regained the captaincy.
Speaking at the team’s official send-off before their departure to Japan, Kolisi admitted he was under pressure to return to fitness in time and to retain his place in the team.
‘I was under a lot of pressure from myself and watching the other guys play,’ he said. ‘But the great thing was Coach [Rassie Erasmus] kept me quite involved with the team.
‘I was watching the plays and I was in meetings. It was just the waiting period to see how the knee holds up and in the end it held up pretty well.’
Touching on his comeback game againsy Los Pumas at Loftus, Kolisi explained that while he felt he hadn’t perform at his highest level, he would be at his best at the World Cup.
‘Yeah, it was obviously not my best but I was happy with the way I played against Argentina. Like Coach said, I needed a little bit more and the past couple of weeks have been helpful training-wise. We’ve also got two more weeks, so I think I’ll get to where I need to be.’
When probed about the magnitude of leading South Africa at a World Cup, Kolisi responded:
‘To be honest, we’ve been quite busy this past week and working really hard. Obviously with all that’s happening I’ve just been trying to focus on rugby, which is the main thing for us. But I’ll probably have a moment on the plane – when I can relax – to take it all in.
‘I like focusing on my game and making sure that action speaks louder than anything else. And that’s the most important thing. But it is a huge honor for all of us in the team to represent our country.’
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