Nick Mallett: Siya Kolisi 'must go' to World Cup even if he doesn't play

Nick Mallett: Siya Kolisi 'must go' to World Cup even if he doesn't play

Former Springbok head coach Nick Mallett believes that 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi should go to France even if he doesn't play a single match.

Kolisi is currently rehabbing a knee injury he sustained in the latter stages of the Sharks' United Rugby Championship campaign.

The 32-year-old took part in the Springboks' warm-up ahead of their clash with Argentina at Ellis Park last week and was part of the pre-match ceremony as flag bearer.

The flanker missed the Rugby Championship this season due to injury and did not fly out to Argentina for the side's final game before the World Cup squad is announced.

Regardless, Mallett - who coached the Springboks at the 1999 Rugby World Cup - believes that Kolisi should be included in Jacques Nienaber's final 33-man squad, which will be named on Tuesday, August 8.

Mallett appeared on Supersport's Final Whistle, where he was asked about the lessons he learned from the 1999 Rugby World Cup when he infamously dropped Bok captain Gary Teichmann ahead of the tournament and named Bobby Skinstad as his skipper.

"The big mistake, which I've mentioned many times, was leadership in not taking Gary Teichman to the 1999 World Cup that made a big difference," Mallett explained.

"It affected a number of players in the squad who didn't play at their normal level when he was not on the field, so leadership is something that I cannot overemphasise the importance of it in South Africa's context.

"We've got a complicated society, and we've got different cultures in the team, and when you've got someone like Siya Kolisi, who is so obviously respected by the squad, you can't leave him behind. You just cannot leave him; he must go.

"Even if he doesn't play a game, he must go just as someone who is a leader of this group, and then we fill in with [Duane] Vermeulen and [Handre] Pollard.

"I really believe that strongly and 33 players is already two players more than we had when we won the World Cup in 2019, so we can afford to take as a captain who might be right for a quarter-final."

On the injury of Pollard, who also missed the Rugby Championship through injury, Mallett added: "Pollard is critical from a leadership point of view, but most important from a goal kicking point of view, you need to get that 80% goal kicker to win a World Cup."

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