South Africa had been braced on Monday for the prospect of going into the first Test towards the British & Irish Lions with out their inspirational chief Siya Kolisi, with the Springboks considering back-up choices for the captaincy.
Having spent the previous 10 days in isolation after testing optimistic for Covid-19, Kolisi was amongst six gamers allowed to hitch the remainder of the squad in Cape City on Monday however was attributable to take coronary heart and lung checks on Monday night time as a part of the return‑to-play protocols. Even when Kolisi is given the inexperienced mild to play on Saturday, it might be a big gamble to throw him straight in towards the Lions with the South Africa head coach, Jacques Nienaber, attributable to identify his workforce on Tuesday.
Among the many choices if Kolisi doesn’t lead the Springboks out at Cape City Stadium are the fly-half Handre Pollard, who has been handed match to play having additionally needed to isolate, Lukhanyo Am, who captained a robust South Africa A facet to victory against the Lions final Wednesday, and Eben Etzebeth. The Springboks assistant coach, Mzwandile Stick, is assured South Africa can cope if Kolisi doesn’t take the sphere on Saturday.
“We’re in a very good area,” Stick mentioned. “We’re virtually again to 100% to how we would like issues to be finished in a Take a look at week. [With Siya] we wouldn’t do something silly. We’re hoping to get excellent news but when not we’ve received nice gamers in our squad. Even when Siya shouldn’t be match to play, we belief the opposite guys in that place. We’ve received nice leaders in our workforce. If Siya shouldn’t be match we all know we’ve received gamers who can try this job. If he’s not cleared, we’ve received a few guys who can try this job.”
Pollard, in the meantime, dismissed feedback made by the previous Springboks coach Peter de Villiers that South Africa’s present fashion of play is “very boring”. The fly-half additionally believes South Africa know what to anticipate from the Lions with Pollard doing his homework on Dan Biggar – the favorite to start out towards him on Saturday.
In response to De Villiers’s boring jibe, Pollard mentioned: “For me, it’s essentially the most lovely factor on this planet. Aside from my spouse. It’s the way in which we had been introduced up and for me personally it’s a factor of magnificence. Throwing a ball round is good for the individuals watching on TV however for me it’s lovely. I don’t assume it’s a giant secret of what’s coming. Two sides play fairly related video games and it’s going to come back right down to physicality, set piece and the fundamentals.”
Pollard additionally sought to allay fears the Springboks will probably be undercooked, having had greater than 20 optimistic Covid-19 circumstances over the previous three weeks and having performed only one Take a look at for the reason that 2019 World Cup remaining. And in an eyebrow-raising admission given the outbreak within the camp, Pollard revealed the gamers’ households have been permitted to hitch the bubble.
“Having our wives and companions right here, the children working round … numerous individuals would see it as a distraction however for us it’s nice. It helps quite a bit with the bubble life,” he mentioned. “It takes your head off the sport a bit. For the subsequent three weeks we now have to concentrate on the duty at hand. You don’t care about staying sane. You don’t have to remain sane. You’ve simply received to remain centered on what we need to obtain. There’s no means you’re not going to be prepared. Bodily we’re all high-quality.”