South Africa's captain Siya Kolisi (R) takes part in the captain's run with teammates in Gold Coast. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/AFP
South Africa's captain Siya Kolisi (R) takes part in the captain's run with teammates in Gold Coast. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/AFP

Springboks won’t change game plan, but we will look in front of us and take the opportunities, says Siya Kolisi

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Oct 1, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - EXPECT more box-kicks from the Springboks against the All Blacks on Saturday – but perhaps not inside the opposition 22.

That seemed to be the gist of the message from Bok captain Siya Kolisi from the Gold Coast on Friday ahead of the final Rugby Championship showdown with New Zealand at the Cbus Super Stadium (12.05pm SA time kickoff).

The South Africans were booted around like a Faf de Klerk up-and-under by fans and critics this week for failing to hold on to possession inside the All Blacks’ half, with the scrumhalf’s ploy of hoisting the ball into the air in the ‘red zone’ particularly galling for supporters.

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But it sounds like the penny has finally dropped in the current Bok set-up. Coaches Jacques Nienaber and Deon Davids spoke earlier in the week about how the players could’ve chosen different options or managed the game better in the last 10 minutes, and on Friday, Kolisi said that his team will try to return to their fundamentals that won them the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“Our game plan gets us to where we want to be, and I think all we need to do is to just take those opportunities when we get there. So, we are not going to change our game plan, but we will look in front of us and take the opportunities in front of us, because that is why we do what we do – to get into positions where we can play rugby,” the No 6 flank said.

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“If you look at the World Cup, we did the same thing, and that’s how we scored our tries. It was off… not because we were playing and making rugby. We got turnovers and were able to score those tries.

“I remember Cheslin’s try: somebody knocked it on, Pieter-Steph picked it up and passed it to Cheslin, and it went into the wide channel and we had a mismatch on the outside.

“That’s where our kicking game gets us to, and now where we are failing, we are just not taking those opportunities when we worked to get to a perfect position, and then we don’t take those opportunities.

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“That’s what we need to do. That’s what we looked at as a team – it’s that, keep on doing what we are doing, but if the opportunity comes, no matter where it is, we take it, because they are not going to be presented all the time.

“I think there was one, or two or three in the game at the weekend, where we looked at ourselves and said ‘That could’ve been an opportunity’. So, our game plan will be similar to what it’s always been.”

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The Boks’ driving maul was also stopped cleverly by the New Zealanders in last week’s 19-17 defeat in Townsville, with the tactic of sacking the maul and tackling the lineout jumper working a treat.

Kolisi said that the South Africans had identified the issue, and he did not want to blame the referee for not getting more reward from the set-piece.

“We looked at the clips and saw what we could do as players. We can’t control officiating – we never look at that. That’s my responsibility as a captain, to speak with the ref. We have conversations with the ref before the game, and we talk about those things. And in the game as well, we speak to him,” the 30-year-old skipper said.

“But we looked at our game, and we saw where we can be better, because it is a weapon of ours. Hopefully we can be better tomorrow.”

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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