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Kolisi gets a wake-up call from physios

SPOTLIGHT: Double World Cup-winning Springbok captain Siya Kolisi admitted that he wasn’t in the best shape after enjoying the French cuisine in Paris.

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The 32-year-old joined the Top 14 side in the aftermath of the 2023 World Cup and it hasn’t been the smoothest ride for Kolisi.

However, he has played a pivotal part in his side’s silverware hunt.

Racing slipped into the play-off picture based on head-to-head results and now have their destiny in their own hands in their quest for a seventh Top 14 title in their history. Their last being in 2016.

“I believe when you get into play-off games, the mindset is different,” Kolisi told AFP on Tuesday.

“It’s all about who’s on point on the day.

“If we’re not on point on the day, the season is done. It’s an exciting challenge,” the 32-year-old flank added.

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Kolisi’s Springbok captaincy is up in the air since joining the French outfit with Erasmus preferring his captain to be based in South Africa.

Sharks duo Eben Etzebeth and Mbongeni Mbonambi have been tipped as favourites for the captain’s armband, but Erasmus is yet to make that call.

This season he has struggled with minor injuries and will miss the Boks’ friendly with Wales on June 22 due to his Top 14 commitments.

“It’s been up and down,” Kolisi said.

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“What happened in the season now doesn’t matter, this is what counts.

“For me, it’s the toughest domestic competition I’ve played in as every game matters with promotion and relegation, it makes everything difficult,” Kolisi added.

Still making waves

Since arriving in Paris, Kolisi made the Time Magazine’s 100 list and enjoyed the French Open tennis and Monaco Formula One Grand Prix and in between all this he attempted to improve his French.

“It’s slower than I thought. I’m understanding a bit more,” Kolisi said.

“I’m not confident enough apart from ordering a baguette or a coffee,” he added.

Kolisi’s also shared his take on the culture and French cuisine.

“The food is amazing here, that’s why I gained too much weight when I got here,” Kolisi joked.

“I gained 5kg and then I remember getting to the gym and one of the physios said ‘You look like s**t’.

“It’s why I had to cut down on the food,” he added.

Racing’s hopes of a seventh semifinal spot in the last decade have been boosted by the absence of Matthieu Jalibert even if the hosts can call up in-form backs like Damian Penaud and Louis Bielle-Biarrey.

Jalibert has been ruled out with a thigh issue until the end of the season but Zach Holmes and rookie Mateo Garcia could also slot into the playmaking role.

“He’s been amazing this season,” Kolisi said.

“They’ve also played without him, he was injured before and they were able to win some big games.

“They’re a great team,” he added.

The other play-off will see Toulon face La Rochelle on Saturday with the winner to take on the Champions Cup winners Toulouse in the final four.

 

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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