Home Sport Kolisi to be unleashed against Stormers after ‘tough’ conditioning program

Kolisi to be unleashed against Stormers after ‘tough’ conditioning program

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The good news for Sharks fans, and perhaps bad news for the Stormers, is that Siya Kolisi is fighting fit ahead of Friday’s Rainbow Cup opener at the Cape Town Stadium.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has put in the hard yards during pre-season training with the Sharks. Picture: Steve Haag Sports via Backpagepix

DURBAN – The good news for Sharks fans and perhaps bad news for the Stormers is that Siya Kolisi is fighting fit and ready to be unleashed against his former teammates in Friday night’s Rainbow Cup opener at the Cape Town Stadium.

The Springbok captain joined the Sharks a few months back in rusty condition after a series of injuries in 2020, but after an extensive conditioning programme, he made his debut for his new team towards the end of the Preparation Series, and a few weeks on is in great shape, according to coach Sean Everitt.

ALSO READ: Why the British and Irish Lions don’t stand a chance against Siya Kolisi’s Springboks

“Siya had a tough pre-season with us — but he hung in, and then when we played him against the Bulls (in the final Preparation Series game) he made some telling contributions, so we are really looking forward to seeing what he can deliver against the Stormers,” Everitt said.

“All round, Siya has been amazing for us,” Everitt added. “Without instruction from anyone, he has gone about mentoring the youngsters, and they really look up to him. He is not the captain but in a quiet way he has been showing leadership and his teammates respond.”

Everitt said he was unsure what to expect from a Stormers team that played differently in the Preparations Series to the Currie Cup.

“They played more with ball in hand in the Series after having mostly been a set-piece team,” Everitt commented. “They have their (Springbok) front row depth back (Steven Kitshoff et al) but they will also have taken a lot of confidence from their recent attacking game that served them well.

“It will be interesting to see whether they go back to their set-piece game of the Currie Cup…”

The Sharks smashed the Bulls 45-12 in their last game of the Series, scoring seven tries in 25 minutes, despite heavy rain. Their attacking intent was wonderfully evident, and it is unlikely that they will change too much going into the Rainbow Cup.

“On Friday night, we want to pick up where we left off in that last game but we won’t get ahead of ourselves because the Bulls were not at full strength,” Everitt cautioned. “But that was an energetic performance in difficult conditions that we can be proud of.”

Against the Bulls, The Sharks lost centre Marius Louw to a shoulder injury and he will be out for a further three weeks, with Jeremy Ward stepping in to partner skipper Lukhanyo Am.

Loosehead prop Ox Nche picked up an ankle injury against the Bulls and won’t play this week but that has opened the door for the hugely exciting youngster Ntuthuko Mchunu, who had some brilliant cameos during the Preparation Series.

@IOLsport