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Kolisi reveals why South Africa are so effective at seeing out games 

Kolisi reveals why South Africa are so effective at seeing out games 

South Africa once again proved that they are the masters of grinding out a narrow victory as they edged past Wales in their Autumn Nations Series opener.

And skipper Siya Kolisi has revealed how they consistently manage to see out games.

The world champion Springboks only took the lead for the first time against Wales when Malcolm Marx scored a 72nd-minute try to put them 20-18 ahead and they then nursed that advantage until the final minute when Elton Jantjies added a penalty to make the final score 23-18.

They had done similar against Wales in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-finals, as they completed a 19-16 triumph that day, and Kolisi believes it is the players’ upbringing and their style of life in South Africa that enables them to successfully get victories over the line.

“I think it’s a South African thing – we come from a country where people just won’t accept defeat, they will always persist no matter how tough things are,” he explained.

“That’s instilled in us and one thing I know of our coaching staff is that they pick guys who have been through quite a lot and who can get through tough times.

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“That’s what we pride ourselves on. When the coach speaks to us in the changing room, he doesn’t speak to you as a rugby player, he speaks to you as a person because he knows that we can go to those dark places and we are able to live there for a very long time. That’s very important.

“We know we are very privileged to be able to do what we love and also able to put smiles on people’s faces back at home.

“We go through so many struggles [as a country] and people get so excited when we play. We know we’ve got 80 minutes and whatever we do, we can change someone’s mood.”

That team unity and desire to make the South African people proud has served the Springboks well and they will look to notch further victories in their remaining two Autumn Nations Series games – against Scotland next weekend and England seven days later.

Games between South Africa and Wales have a history of being tight affairs, so Kolisi wasn’t surprised to see the game come down to the wire once again.

“I think it’s the way we work, our preparations,” he added. “We spoke about it as a team, we know what kind of team Wales are and it’s always been tough when we play against them.

“They’re the one team we know will go for 80 minutes – they’re tough, they work really hard.”

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