Kolisi back to lead Springboks against Wales

Siya Kolisi takes a selfie with fans during South Africa's departure ceremony ahead of the Rugby World Cup
Siya Kolisi takes a selfie with fans during South Africa’s departure ceremony ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg earlier this week

Siya Kolisi will return from injury to captain South Africa in their World Cup warm-up game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday (15:15 BST).

Kolisi, who led the Springboks to World Cup victory in 2019, has not played since April because of a knee injury.

But the flanker, 32, starts against Wales in South Africa’s penultimate match ahead of this year’s tournament.

“It’s nice to have him back and have him playing again,” said South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber.

“He’s worked hard and he really deserves it. The amount of effort and sacrifice that Siya put in to be ready now – this is probably a reward for him to get an opportunity to play

“It’s nice for the team to have him back because he’s been an integral part of this team over the last six years that we’ve been together.”

Kolisi and prop Ox Nche – who is among the replacements – are set for their first Test appearances of the year after recovering from injury, while scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse is also back involved after a family bereavement.

Kolisi needed surgery after suffering knee ligament damage when playing for Sharks against Munster in the United Rugby Championship.

“It will be nice to give him some game exposure to make sure that he’s battle hardened and sharp when we go into the World Cup and into that game against Scotland,” Nienaber added.

South Africa make 11 changes to the side which beat Argentina 24-13 in Buenos Aires on 5 August.

They also overcame the Argentinians along with Australia in this summer’s Rugby Championship, but finished second in the shortened tournament having lost to New Zealand.

Nienaber’s team play their final game before the World Cup in France against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Friday, 25 August.

They face Scotland in their World Cup opener on 10 September.

South Africa, to face Wales in Cardiff: W le Roux; C Moodie, J Kriel, D de Allende, C Kolbe; M Libbok, J Hendrikse; S Kitshoff, M Marx, F Malherbe, J Kleyn, RG Snyman, S Kolisi, P-S du Toit, J Wiese.

Replacements: B Mbonambi, O Nche, V Koch, F Mostert, M van Staden, D Vermeulen, G Williams, D Willemse.

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