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Rugby | Springboks

Siya Kolisi © Gallo Images

We wanted respect back - Siya

Springbok loose forward Siya Kolisi believes that his team did well enough on Saturday to change the perception that their 57-0 defeat at Albany defined them.

Kolisi believes his team’s narrow 25-24 loss in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match at Newlands showed that the Boks wanted “to get the respect back” when playing New Zealand and despite the loss they went a long way to returning the respect where it belonged.

Kolisi believes Saturday’s performance was the best played by this group of Springboks under coach Allister Coetzee and he was proud of the performance.

“I think this was the best we’ve played. The one or two mistakes let us down. They capitalised on those one or two mistakes and they are very lethal with that. That is where they score most of their tries – with turnover ball and that was our downfall. But I’ve never been so proud and the way our captain led us today, I don’t think you could have asked for more from him.

"The guys replied, especially the guys who got opportunities – Kitsie (Stephen Kitshoff) and Pieter-Steph (du Toit), who played at flank – a lot of people had a lot to say about it but he stood up. Wilco Louw, when he came on made a huge difference and Malcolm (Marx) was outstanding. I think it was really good of the boys,” he explained.

“We had to turn up today, we had to be on point today. Obviously because of that score in Albany and that made a difference, and we knew all along that Albany doesn’t define us, we are much better than that day, where everything went against us.

"We played well, one mistake and 80 metre tries – so today we said we will give everything. The Championship has been won and we obviously wanted the respect back. The boys stood up well today and we stuck to the plans. It was simple. We didn’t go out of plan or out of system, it was exactly what we trained this week. That is what happened in Albany as well. We were shocked there, because we did what we planned and one mistake, we were under our poles.”

Despite going behind three times in the game, Kolisi said that there was no way the team were going to allow heads to hang as they did in Albany. This time the mantra was to fight for every point.

“This time we said nothing will phase us. No matter what they bring we are going to keep on going, we will keep on playing. On and off the field, if there are changes of plans or things didn’t go our way, it didn’t matter. There was stuff that wasn’t going according to plan and the guys just reacted to the situation.

To be quite honest we prepare the same for every game. We didn’t prepare any differently this week than before and in Albany we prepared the same. In the two draws against Australia we did nothing special, and this week we just stuck to our guns and what happened in Albany, they got a lucky bounce.

“This week we just didn’t care anymore, we wanted to play the game and get involved. It isn’t as if we think about it and say 'now we have to win'. We always want to win in a Springbok jersey and we always give our best, but sometimes the bounce of the ball doesn’t come our way.

"People don’t obviously always see that from the outside, but after that game we sat there and it was emotional and it was tough. We said ‘let’s try and get rid of this game as soon as we can', because we had Australia to concentrate on and we had to give them the same respect as we gave New Zealand but preparing well as well.

“This week as well, when we drew last week it felt like a loss to us. We just went back and forgot about that game and focussed on the next game. There was nothing special done, preparation wise, it was the same as any other week.”

The key for the Boks now will be to repeat this performance and make sure it wasn’t an emotional, one-off game.


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