Age means nothing, says South African captain Siya Kolisi. Speaking on Irish captain Johnny Sexton, who has been ruled out of rugby for the rest of the season with injury, Kolisi added that Sexton makes a significant difference when he is in the Irish side.
Now with his club side Sharks, who are hosting Munster on Saturday in the European Champions Cup, Kolisi sees Sexton as a player who has defied the odds.
“Obviously he has been amazing this year. He has been really amazing. He is a great leader for the Irish team and for Leinster as well,” said Kolisi.
“One thing that I like about him is that he just shows age means nothing with the way that he has played this year.
“I love when people defy all the odds, maybe someone didn’t back him and said he was too old, but the way that he is playing at the moment, it makes a huge difference when he is not in that Irish side.
“But I know for a fact that the guys that are playing behind him will take their opportunities. And it’s an opportunity to see [other guys] because you never know what might happen at the World Cup.”
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The first black captain of South Africa to have won a World Cup, when they beat England in the 2019 final, Kolisi said it was now a good opportunity for Ireland to give other players a chance.
He added that Ireland will be preparing to make sure Sexton will be fit for the World Cup which begins in France at the beginning of September.
“So, it’s a great opportunity for the coaches to look at other players. They will see who has the authority to take that position,” said the Springbok captain.
“Maybe they already have a second-choice, but they are looking at the third and fourth-choice going forward. It’s unlucky, but hopefully he can get back soon. Obviously they will be very conservative, making sure that he is ready for the World Cup.”