Cape Town – It’s been a long, hard slog for the Springboks this year, and now ahead of their second-last match of 2021, captain Siya Kolisi has urged his team to rock up with the right “mindset and attitude” against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday (3pm SA time kickoff).
South Africa have played 11 Tests since July, and that has included the arduous Covid-19 bio-bubbles that have restricted their movements for most of that period.
And, having just held on for a 23-18 victory over Wales in Cardiff last week, the Boks are in danger of coming unstuck against the slick Scottish outfit in Edinburgh.
Gregor Townsend’s team will look to run the South Africans off their feet, which is why Kolisi warned his players to up the ante in the physical exchanges and set-pieces in the hope of stopping their supply of attacking possession.
“We are definitely coming in with the mindset that we’ve always had – our physicality... and we know what we bring into the game. If it will work or not will depend on how we pitch up tomorrow in our attitude and our mental state… to make sure that we are doing it for 80 minutes,” the 30-year-old said from Edinburgh on Friday.
“We are not changing anything. We are coming with the mentality that we have and our game plan that we have, and hopefully it will work out tomorrow.”
Scotland come off yet another win over Australia – their third in a row – and what makes last weekend’s 15-13 triumph even more significant is the fact that the Wallabies beat the Boks twice during the Rugby Championship.
So, Townsend’s team are certainly equipped to try and thwart the Bok forwards.
“Their set-piece (was what impressed him the most from the victory over Australia). They got a lot of advantage from their set-pieces… their scrums. Even on the opposition’s scrums, they were pretty good at that,” Kolisi said.
“And that’s something that we pride ourselves in as well. With their running game, they take their opportunities very well, and they play without fear, which is great, so I’m looking forward to that.
“They’ve got a lot of different things they can throw at us. They’ve got a very good running game, and they’ve got a very good kicking game too.
“And you can see their scrums went well last week. Their set-pieces were very good, so we are going to be challenged all-round in the game. Their breakdown is pretty good – we saw some crucial steals close to the line. So, they’ve got guys that can steal.
“They’ve got a very attacking flyhalf (Finn Russell), and they’ve got a lot of experience too – with Hogg at the back. Their kicking game is also good: we know how Stuart Hogg kicks. So, it’s going to be an all-round game, and that is what we have prepared for the game.
“But the most focus is on what we can do as a team, to make sure that we can make our plan work. We can’t control what they will throw at us – they might throw something new, and we can’t control that. But what we can control is what we can do to them, and make sure that we put our plan towards them.”