Bok captain Siya Kolisi opens up on miraculous pre-World Cup injury recovery

Bok captain Siya Kolisi opens up on miraculous pre-World Cup injury recovery

Siya Kolisi has revealed how he managed to defy the odds and return from what was diagnosed as a nine-month injury lay-off in under half that time.

When South Africa's skipper tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for the Sharks in April 2023, it appeared his Rugby World Cup dreams were over.

Kolisi had other ideas, however, and managed to recover in August and played a part in two warm-up matches before the start of the tournament.

The Springboks captain then led the team to the World Cup title as they became the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on four occasions.

On the Behind the Ruck podcast, the 32-year-old discussed the injury and the process he went through to return in four months.

"I thought I was fine when it happened. I still strapped it when it happened and then I scrummed. Luckily we scored, but then I went off and Rachel (his wife) was panicking," he told the presenters, ex-Springboks Rudy Paige and Juan de Jongh.

"They looked at it and went, 'ah, it looks okay.' I went home and then the next morning I went for a scan. They said: 'ACL, completely off, nine months.' I went, 'okay, cool' and that was it.

"I went home, I remember Rachel was upstairs in the house in Durban and then I told her. She starts crying and then I accept it. But she's like, 'I don't accept it.' She said: 'Humanly, it's not possible, but with God it's possible.'

"I went to bed and next day I met with the doctor, we had a scheduled date for the operation. But the night before the operation, I wanted to get another opinion so I cancelled in the middle of the night.

"I flew to Cape Town and met with another doctor. He looked at the scan and went, 'yeah, it's off, completely off.' I said: 'Is it possible? Can you give me a one per cent chance of making it to the World Cup.'

"He said: 'I'll give you a 70 per cent chance of making it. I will fix you 100 per cent, the rest is up to you.'"

Kolisi then detailed what happened post-operation and how the recovery went remarkably smoothly, even from the moment he left the hospital.

"I spoke to Rene (Springboks physio Rene Naylor) and her first words were, 'fix it properly and I will do everything in my power to get you back in time.'

"There was a big team around me. Rene was at my house two days after the operation, we started straight away.

"I was fortunate, God was in charge every step of the way. I walked out of the hospital, number one. The doctor told me: 'You don't need a brace, you don't need crutches, I will give you crutches just in case you want them.'

"That night after the operation, I was laying there and I bent my leg to 95 degrees, and he's like, 'sometimes this takes people three weeks.'

"I walked out of the hospital, I stayed in Cape Town for three weeks and started doing rehab from then on.

"Every single step of the way, everything they'd seen in an ACL before, it wasn't the same with me. There's normally big swelling when you do this, but I had no hiccups."

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