The Springbok match-23 pose for the official team photo in Port Elizabeth on Friday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/Saspa/SA Rugby

The euphoria of beating the All Blacks in New Zealand can be very quickly eroded with a defeat to the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth, and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi knows it.

While the Boks did the almost unthinkable by knocking over the world champions in their own backyard in the epic 36-34 triumph in Wellington, the acclaim that result received will be swept away somewhat if they go down at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday (5pm kickoff).

The Boks have tended to be “dragged down” to the Wallabies’ level in Australia in recent years, with losses – or draws – being invariably snatched from the jaws of victory.

There is also the danger of looking too far ahead to the return clash against the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld next weekend.

That can’t happen against the Wallabies on Saturday in front of what will be an expectant 45 000-capacity crowd in Port Elizabeth, and Kolisi wants his team to maintain the feel-good vibes currently emanating through Springbok rugby.

“I think the (two-week) break was good because the body is obviously… We made a lot of tackles in that game (over 230 in Wellington), we didn’t get to attack a lot,” Kolisi said at his pre-match press conference in Friday.

“And I think the thing that stood out for me the most was the fact that when we had an opportunity, we took it that weekend, which is something that we were struggling a bit with.

“We made a lot of opportunities in the previous games and didn’t take them.

“We know what happened to us against Australia. If we start looking ahead (to New Zealand), we could forget about this game – and this is a really important, tough one, and Australia also need to win.”

And Kolisi said the tough talk about raising standards comes from within the player group, instead of the head coach demanding improvements.

“The coach doesn’t put pressure on us, but we know that we have to maintain what we did in the last game. The pressure hasn’t come from the coaches or management, but we put it on each other,” the 27-year-old loose forward said. 

“That game was special, and that’s the standard we’ve set for ourselves. We want to strive to be there, or better it.”

 

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