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Kolisi admits fearing being dropped by Boks during 2020 slump

By Jan De Koning
Siya Kolisi /Getty Images

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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.

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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.

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Saracens vs Bristol Bears – The Showdown 2
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Saracens vs Bristol Bears – The Showdown 2

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.

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“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.

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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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