YOKOHAMA (AFP) – South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi will earn his 50th Test cap in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against England in Yokohama.
The 28-year-old made his debut back in 2013 against Scotland in Nelspruit.
He was given the full-time Bok captaincy in 2018 when Rassie Erasmus replaced Allister Coetzee as national coach.
A serious knee injury in 2019, however, meant that Kolisi was a doubt for this year’s showpiece.
He used the pool stages of the tournament to help rediscover his full fitness and, unless something goes wrong between now and then, he will lead the Boks out into battle against Eddie Jones’ men as they look to secure a third Webb Ellis Cup.
“It’s a great achievement for your captain to have his 50th cap in this game,” said forwards coach Matt Proudfoot.
“Duane (Vermeulen) and Pieter-Steph (du Toit) have gone past 50; Eben Etzebeth 80, Beast (Tendai Mtawarira) 118 I think, Steven (Kitshoff) is getting close to 50, Frans (Malherbe) is about 40 to 45.
“So, the group as a pack is really experienced, and what’s impressed me is how they solve their problems internally. A lot of guys have been here and are in their second World Cup, and we have empowered these guys to handle the situation.
“I must mention, being a forwards coach and my contact time with the forwards, how mature the guys have become over the last three or four years.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 11am (Zimbabwean time).
Meanwhile, former England flyhalf and renowned commentator Stuart Barnes says the Springboks should bench their inspirational captain Kolisi for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama.
Via a column for The Times, Barnes called on Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to include Francois Louw in the starting team for the final against England.
Louw replaced Kolisi in the 69th minute of last weekend’s 19-16 semi-final win over Wales and proved influential when he won a vital penalty on the ground in the 74th minute.
The Welsh were hot on the attack at that stage, with the game on a knife edge at 16-all.
“South Africa have more chance of winning without their captain. Erasmus, if he can indeed ignore the ‘historical and political perspective’, should select his captain on the bench,” Barnes wrote.
Louw’s familiarity with the English players is given as a reason for punting his inclusion.
“The No. 6 shirt should be worn by the South African who knows the game of Sam Underhill, England’s key man, better than anyone – his fellow Bath flanker Francois Louw. Kolisi does not only represent black people but everyone in South Africa. The decision should be colour-blind.”