A week ago, in the first Test against Eddie Jones’ team in Joburg, the Boks trailed 24-3 midway through the first half and only a magical and quite unbelievable fightback saw the home team haul in the tourists and beat them 42-39.
But as good as the Boks were in clawing their way back, they also conceded two late tries, to the three in the early stages, and will want to produce a more composed all-round effort from start to finish this weekend. Kolisi said on Friday he was expecting a stronger 80-minute performance, especially with last week’s “sideshows” out of the way.
He was, of course, referring to his being named the first black captain of the Boks, the match being new coach Rassie Erasmus’ first on home soil, and the fact several promising young players were picked to play in the game.
“It’s all about intensity and work rate ... we need to make sure we start with it and keep it up for 80 minutes,” said Kolisi.
He added there were no excuses this week, as there perhaps were a week ago.
“There are no guys who have travelled back from America (after the game against Wales in Washington) this week. We’ve all been here this week, we’ve had a proper training week together.
“We need to make sure we start on a high and the guys who come on later keep it up and don’t drop off,” he added. “There are no excuses this week ... we’ve got to (go out there and) do it, find a way.”
Kolisi said he was confident all his younger players, like wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’bu Nkosi, lock RG Snyman, centre Lukhanyo Am, and even experienced men like Bongi Mbonambi, just back from weeks off last Saturday, would be more at ease going into the second Test.
“I’m expecting them to step it up now, having had a game under the belt,” said Kolisi. “There’s a different calmness about the team this week, it’s been a good week, done us good being together. Last week there was just so much going on.”
A win for the Boks would see them wrap up the series with a game to go, in Cape Town next Saturday, but the Bok skipper said England would come out fighting hard in a bid to keep the series alive.
“Of course we’d love to win the series this week, but we can only control what we can. It’s not going to be the same game as last week. I thought England were good, and this week they’ve brought in some different players, like Brad Shields, who we know from Super Rugby and they’ll be out to prove themselves.
“It’s going to come down to who wants it the most, who makes the least mistakes ... all we can do is make sure we’re better than a week ago,” said Kolisi.@jacq_west
Independent on Saturday