Kolisi: I had to dig deep

Bok flank Siya Kolisi admits it has been a ‘tough journey’ on the way to earning inclusion in the World Cup squad, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Durban.

Kolisi cracked the nod as one of five specialist loose forwards in the 31-man World Cup squad named on Friday, with the likes of Marcell Coetzee, Oupa Mohoje and Heinrich Brüssow missing out.

Having not played any international rugby last year after making 10 appearances off the bench in his debut season in 2013, Kolisi admitted it had taken a lot of work to get back into the World Cup frame.

‘I don’t think you can ever expect to be in the final squad considering how many top quality players there are, particularly in the loose forward department. So it was tough, I had to work hard and fight hard, especially after last season. I had to dig deep to get out of that hole I was in. I’ve worked really hard to get here, and it’s just such an honour and a privilege. It was a tough journey, but that just makes it so much more special.’

Asked if he felt he would have an extra point to prove considering the quality of loose forwards left at home, Kolisi said he couldn’t afford to shoulder that sort of burden.

‘All I want to do is work hard and focus on my game, I can’t put extra pressure on myself, I’m just grateful to be here. This is the ultimate goal, but it’s only the beginning to make the squad, now we need to go and perform at the tournament, and really push ourselves to the limit.

‘As players, we know what we are here to do and we have a common goal. We’re a tight family, and now that the squad is finalised, we can focus fully on the World Cup and that first game against Japan [on 19 September]. Hopefully the whole country will get behind us.’

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis