Just a handful of minutes into the Sharks v Munster game in Durban this past weekend and the whole nation began holding its breath. No, it wasn't because of Lukhanyo Am's skillful chicken wing pass or even for Bongi's powerful scrummaging. It was out of sheer shock at the sight of the Springbok captain receiving medical attention to his knee, just a mere four months away from the World Cup.
After some strapping, Siya got back to his feet and it looked like our fears had been misplaced. Unfortunately Siya lasted mere minutes more and Ronnie and I joked that it was probably the amount of time it took Rassie to get on the phone and ask the Sharks management to pull him off. Little did we know how serious things could be for Kolisi.
On Monday evening news broke by IOL that Kolisi had seen some specialists and had suffered damage to both sides of his meniscus. The recommended treatment plan is for him to undergo surgery which would see him sidelined for the remainder of the 2023 season, a roughly 9 month recovery period. It is also reported that conservative treatment could be an option, and without the surgery he may be able to return after 4 months, but there are no guarantee's on that.
Kolisi will be consulting with more specialists today as they charter out a treatment plan for a player whose presence in the Bok team can not be overstated. The Springboks are set to defend their title in France in September and October and the loss of their captain will put a serious dent in their chances. Siya brings a wealth of leadership experience to the side and this will be sorely missed in the tense play-off stages of the competition.
Siya is also an incredible player who has always given his all in the Green & Gold and any Bok fans who deny this, need to take a look inwards before they comment, as by and large what I see on social media is nothing but ignorance when talking about a man who led us to World Cup glory.
There are a plethora of players who are able to fill in on the flank, as South Africa's healthy conveyer belt churns them out, the likes of Deon Fourie, Kwagga Smith and Marco van Staden spring to mind. There could even suddenly be a need for the less than favoured Marcell Coetzee to join the fray. What is less clear is who will don the captains arm band in Kolisi's absence.
A cursory look would suggest players like Steven Kitshoff, Eben Etzebeth, Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am but we may have to wait a while to see which way the Bok management is leaning. For now we can only sit back and hope that Siya's season is not over.