South Africa are sweating on the fitness of captain Siya Kolisi amid reports he will miss this year’s World Cup, but should have another key player in Eben Etzebeth back in the next months.
Reports of a partial tear to Kolisi’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a damaged meniscus dominated local media in the country on Tuesday, although there has been no confirmation from him or his club.
The Springbok captain is being advised to have surgery on a knee injury and would then likely miss South Africa’s defence of the World Cup in France from September, reports added.
The loose forward, who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan four years ago, suffered the injury playing for the Durban-based Sharks against Irish province Munster in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.
South African media reports said the 31-year-old Kolisi had been advised by one of the two specialists he has consulted to have an operation to fix the problem, which would mean a spell on the sidelines of up to nine months, but was seeking a third opinion.
However, Kolisi’s close friend Etzebeth, a teammate at the Sharks, is expecting to be back for the Boks when they open their Rugby Championship campaign against Australia in July.
He suffered a shoulder injury when the Sharks beat Munster in the European Champions Cup on April 1 and was initially expected to also be in danger of missing out on the World Cup in France.
But Etzebeth told reporters his recovery has been swifter than expected and he was hoping to be back for the Test against the Wallabies in Pretoria on July 8.
South Africa, who name their final 33-man squad for the World Cup on August 8, begin the defence of their title against Scotland in Marseille on September 10.