Springboks captain Kolisi scores in winning debut for Sharks

·2-min read
South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi wins a lineout during the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool match against New Zealand in Japan.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi scored a try as he made a winning debut Friday for the Sharks, who trounced fellow South African franchise the Bulls 45-12 in a warm-up match for the Rainbow Cup.

The 29-year-old flanker, who led South Africa to victory over England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Japan, moved to the Sharks last month after 11 years with his only previous team, the Western Stormers.

It took Kolisi only 16 minutes to add his name to the scoresheet as he completed a sweeping cross-field handling movement by evading two tacklers to give the Sharks a 14-point advantage.

That lead had stretched to 19 points after 51 minutes at a sodden Kings Park stadium in Durban when Kolisi was substituted as the Sharks rang the changes to give the bench meaningful game time.

Although Kolisi has been the national skipper since 2018, when he became the first black Test captain of South Africa, the Sharks will continue to be led by Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am.

The Rainbow Cup kicks off on April 24 and will feature the 12 Pro14 teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy plus the Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers from South Africa.

Amid concerns that a third coronavirus wave could hit South Africa soon, none of the European teams will visit the republic.

There will be three rounds of South African derbies and the four franchises then play three matches each in Europe, provided they receive government approval and Covid-19 regulations permit them to travel.

The 16 sides have been divided into two pools and the winners of each will contest the final on June 19 -- two weeks before the touring British and Irish Lions are due to play their first match in South Africa.