Province boosted as Kolisi, Vermaak return to training

Western Province have received a timely injury boost before the derby against the Vodacom Bulls as Siya Kolisi and Alistair Vermaak are back in full training.

Kolisi has been out since playing against the Pumas in the third round of Super Rugby Unlocked in Nelspruit, where he sustained a grade-one hamstring tear in the first half.

The Springbok captain could be set to play his first game for Western Province since 9 August 2019, but Province forwards coach Rito Hlungwani was mum over whether he would return to the starting lineup on Saturday.

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‘Siya is fit. He has been training and is looking very good,’ Hlungwani told the media after Tuesday’s training session. ‘Whether we are going to let him get going this weekend, I will keep a secret. But he is really excited to be involved with the guys.’

As an added boost, loosehead prop Vermaak has also returned to full fitness and could play his first official rugby match since the 2018 Currie Cup final.

Vermaak sustained a neck injury during a pre-season training session with the Stormers in 2019. After undergoing an MRI, Vermaak was told that he might not be able to play rugby again as he would be putting himself at risk of paralysis.

The injury kept the 31-year-old out for the entirety of the 2019 Super Rugby and Currie Cup season, but Hlungwani said he could return this weekend.

‘Ali has been training with us. He had a nice scrum session now,’ Hlungwani said. ‘He is doing really well, scrumming really well. So, we are really happy with the progress he has made after such a tough injury. He is someone we would like to see on the field as soon as possible.’

Loose forward Johan du Toit was also pictured in training, while Hlungwani added that Jaco Coetzee was also in contention to play at Newlands.

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Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack