Kolisi admits fearing being dropped by Boks during 2020 slump
Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi credited the Sharks for the dramatic change in form last year that saw him being crowned South Africa’s Player of the Year.
The World Cup-winning Bok skipper was named SA’s best player this week, an accolade widely praised by pundits around the country.
However, just over a year ago, while still with the Stormers in Cape Town, Kolisi was often criticised and some critics even doubted he still deserved his place in the national team.
Kolisi, 30, went through a slump of form in 2020 – following a knee injury in February, the COVID-enforce lockdowns and another injury in October.
He admitted to having doubts, but in February 2021 Kolisi signed for the Sharks – the culmination of his agency (Roc Nation) involvement and Marco Masotti’s MVM consortium obtaining a majority shareholding at the Durban-based franchise.
And that is when there was a dramatic turnaround.
His fitness was not at an acceptable level. However, Sharks coach Sean Everitt had a plan.
“The change was very scary, because I’d been with the Stormers for 11 years,” Kolisi told a virtual media briefing. “Whenever you go to a new place, you have to prove yourself.
“I knew I wasn’t even close to where I was supposed to be, and I was even scared of not making the Springbok team.
“I don’t think I was fit enough.
“I had the eight-week pre-season,” he said of his arrival in Durban – when he just trained and improved his conditioning.
He admitted, once he started playing again, it took some time to find form.
“When I got back to the Springbok camp [ahead of the British and Irish Lions series], the standards that coach Jacques [Nienaber] and coach Rassie [Erasmus] set – along with the conditioning of Andy [Edwards] – I did more [work] when I got there.
“However, I had a good base and it did help me a lot,” he said of the eight-week of pre-season training at the Sharks.
“For eight weeks, I was doing [played] no rugby at all.
“I was just training and That helped me a lot.”
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