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Kolisi calls for Springbok response against All Blacks

Kolisi calls for Springbok response against All Blacks

Siya Kolisi

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi wants his side to finish the Rugby Championship on a high as they look to build momentum for the upcoming Autumn Nations Series.

South Africa face the All Blacks in their closing match of the 2021 tournament on the Gold Coast on Saturday on the back of three consecutive defeats.

A narrow 19-17 defeat to New Zealand as a result of a late penalty from Jordie Barrett last weekend followed back-to-back losses against the Wallabies.

United Rugby Championship produces thrilling opening weekend

Kolisi admitted his team are hurting following their disappointing run of results but remains confident that they can turn that into motivation to end the tour on a high.

“It’s all about the way we play, so all we can do is put in the hard work,” said Kolisi. “The attitude is there; we just have to take our opportunities and get the desired result.

“We are not giving up. I thought we brought the intensity last Saturday, but we didn’t take our opportunities, and we lost the match in the last two minutes.

“Our preparation this week has been good, although as a team we are disappointed with the results, but our focus is on finishing the tour on a strong note.

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Siya Kolisi with Handre Pollard

“There are people at home supporting us and hopefully our hard work on the training field pays off. It is tough for us as a team.

“We are hurting just as our fans are hurting because we are preparing well, but we are not getting the results. But we’ll keep working hard.

“All we can control is our discipline and attitude, and we will give it our best tomorrow. Only our actions will change how people feel.”

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has made two injury-enforced changes to his matchday squad for their final Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Gold Coast.

Ox Nché earns a starting berth at loosehead prop with Trevor Nyakane switching to tighthead after Frans Malherbe was ruled out of selection due to a neck injury.

Jasper Wiese has also been drafted in among the replacements, taking over from Marco van Staden after he suffered a shoulder injury in the latter stages of last week’s defeat.

Cheslin Kolbe, who missed the two matches against the Wallabies and last week’s outing against the All Blacks due to a leg injury, trained with the team on Monday and Tuesday.

But the winger was unable to complete the last training session, which dashed his hopes of making a comeback, and he will now look to get ready for the Autumn Nations Series.

“We are bitterly disappointed about the results in the last few weeks and everyone in our team realises the importance of finishing the Rugby Championship on a winning note,” said Nienaber.

“Every member of squad will have a role to play in ensuring that the players on the field are at their best on match-day, and we have no doubt that if we can build on the strong points of our game last week and improve further on the execution of our game plan, we can get the desired result.

“We know it is going to take a colossal 80-minute effort, but the drive to succeed and motivation to win this weekend is as big as it gets.

“Last week we stuck to our DNA and style of play, and with a little more luck we could have come away with the result, so we need to ensure that we are better at it this week.

“We are ready for this challenge mentally and physically and we know what we are capable of as a team, so we’ll go out there and give everything we have.”

Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard (vice-captain), 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Ox Nché, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Lood de Jager, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 7 Kwagga Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

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