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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15.18 19 Jul 2021


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Captain Siya Kolisi is one of three Springboks players who have joined up with the squad ahead of Saturday's first test with the Lions. 

Kolisi, prop Ox Nché and winger Makazole Mapimpi have all finished their periods of self-isolation.

All three still need to undergo medical screening before being cleared to begin their respective return-to-play protocols.

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Handré Pollard, Dan du Preez, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Steyn, Lood de Jager and Frans Malherbe linked up with the rest of the squad in Cape Town in recent days following their own periods of isolation.

While Kolisi, Nché and Mapimpi remain doubtful for the opening Lions confrontation, Pollard says he's feeling no ill-effects from COVID-19.

"Personally, I’m feeling good. I was lucky not to have symptoms, so it was about getting through the 10 days," the out-half said.

“Walking into the team room [in the last few days], the vibe is good and there is some tension, so the preparation and the talking is done, it’s time to get into the matches."

Assistant Boks coach Mzwandile Stick admitted the biggest question marks hover over Kolisi and Mapimpi.

"We trust the process and protocols in place," Stick said, "We want to stick by the plans.

"I am hoping for them to get great news but, if not, we have got great players in our squad.

"Even if Siya is not fit to play, we trust all the other guys who can play in that position.

"You look at a guy like Rynhardt Elstadt, Marco van Staden, Jasper Wiese, any of those guys could be selected.

"We trust them and believe in them that they have what it takes to do the job for us.

“We have got great leaders in our side. For example, if I can mention, Handre Pollard has been vice-captain for a while.

"We have a guy like Lukhanyo, who can also lead a team. We’ve got Eben, Bongi, Steven Kitshoff.

"That’s something we as a team are grateful of, having those experienced players in our squad. If Siya is not fit, we are not worried at all about who we select. We have got players who can do that job.”

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber names his side for the opening test on Wednesday.

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