Siya Kolisi passed fit to play for South Africa in first Test against British and Irish Lions

Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi has been passed fit to lead South Africa into the first Test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi was one of 14 Springboks to test positive for coronavirus. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi was one of 14 Springboks to test positive for coronavirus. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Kolisi was one of 14 Springboks to test positive for coronavirus, forcing him to self-isolate in Johannesburg for 10 days, and was only able to join up with the squad in Cape Town on Monday.

The openside flanker, along with wing Makazole Mapimpi, faced lung and heart tests to assess their fitness, and have been cleared to play.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has named a strong lineup, with 21 players in the match-23 having featured in the World Cup-winning campaign in Japan in 2019.

Handré Pollard returns at stand-off and will earn his 50th cap at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday – the first of three internationals between the two sides in the Castle Lager Lions Series.

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Kolisi, Mapimpi (wing) and prop Ox Nché were the last group of players to report for duty at the Springbok camp in Cape Town on Monday morning after completing their mandatory self-isolation in Johannesburg.

Nienaber expects a brutal battle against the tourists, who have matched their physicality with enterprising play by the backs so far on their tour to South Africa

“The forward battle is going to be as tough as it gets, so it’s important that we pitch up physically and ensure that we make our presence felt in the set pieces and at the contact points,” said the Bok coach.

South Africa (v British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium, Saturday, 5pm BST):

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15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 62 caps, 60 pts (12t)

14 – Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse) – 14 caps, 40 pts (8t)

13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 15 caps, 15 pts (3t)

12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 47 caps, 30 pts (6t)

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11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 14 caps, 70 pts (14t)

10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain – Montpellier) – 49 caps, 465pts (6t, 78c, 89p, 4d)

9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 30 caps, 20 pts (4t)

8 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 7 caps, 5 pts (1t)

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7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers) – 56 caps, 25 pts (5t)

6 – Siya Kolisi (captain – Cell C Sharks) – 51 caps, 30 pts (6t)

5 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 40 caps, 5pts (1t)

4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 86 caps, 15 pts (3t)

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3 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 43 caps, 5 pts (1t)

2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 37 caps, 40 pts (8t)

1 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 2 caps, 0 pts

Replacements:

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16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 34 caps, 30 pts (6t)

17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 48 caps, 5pts (1t)

18 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 39 caps, 5pts (1t)

19 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 45 caps, 25 pts (5t)

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20 – Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse) – 2 caps, 0 pts

21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 11 caps, 25 pts (5t)

22 – Elton Jantjies (Pau) – 38 caps, 283 pts (2t, 63c, 49p)

23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 7 caps, 5pts (1t)

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