Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi talk at Springbok training on Tuesday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi talk at Springbok training on Tuesday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
New Zealand hooker Codie Taylor says the Sprinbok locks and loose forwards are as dangerous as hooker Malcolm Marx. Photo: REUTERS/Nigel Marple
New Zealand hooker Codie Taylor says the Sprinbok locks and loose forwards are as dangerous as hooker Malcolm Marx. Photo: REUTERS/Nigel Marple

PRETORIA - Malcolm Marx may, potentially, be the star of the Springbok pack – getting a 10 out of 10 rating by a New Zealand newspaper in the corresponding fixture against the All Blacks at Newlands last year – but there are other major threats in the Bok pack, among them captain Siya Kolisi.

That’s the opinion of All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor, who’ll come up against Marx in the front row battle in the teams’ final Rugby Championship Test of the year at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

While Taylor – who’s cemented his place in the New Zealand starting team in the absence of the injured Dane Coles – said Marx was a great player who ensured he had to raise his level of performance, he also singled out Bok leader Kolisi as being a key man in the home team’s pack.

“Malcolm’s certainly one of their key players,” said Taylor when asked about Marx’s influence in the Bok team. “He builds a lot of momentum for them, he’s one of their strengths, he’s great over the ball, but is also a threat with ball in hand.

“But, the Boks’ locks and loosies are also very strong, with a guy like (Siya) Kolisi leading the forward pack around the field ...  he’s a huge confidence booster for them. We can’t focus on one guy (Marx),” said Taylor.

And, inevitably, the All Blacks hooker’s battle with the so-called best hooker in the world, in Marx – according to many in South Africa - came up as a hot topic at a press conference at the All Blacks hotel on Tuesday.

While Taylor said he didn’t want to get “caught up” in discussing his and Marx’s worth to their teams, the hooker’s Crusaders team-mate and good friend, centre Ryan Crotty, stepped in to give his two cents’ worth. “Cody is probably getting tired of talking about himself, so I’ll talk about him a bit.

“I’ve seen his game go to a new level this year, especially for the Crusaders,” said Crotty. “He’s a massive reason why we’ve been successful this year, in driving the team, his leadership, taking charge of the defence. He’s an intelligent hooker ... and I’d take him over Marx any day of the week.”

The Boks will go into this weekend’s match knowing they have already knocked over the world champions this year, having beaten the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington three weeks ago.

The All Blacks will enjoy a rest day on Wednesday before returning to the training field on Thursday, and coach Steve Hansen announcing his lineup for the match, which kicks off at 5pm on Saturday.

IOL Sport

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