Cape Town – Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says they are going to play for former Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis, who tragically lost his young son to a drowning accident earlier this week, when they face England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Du Plessis’ son one-year-old passed away after the accident occured in the swimming pool of Du Plessis’s home on Tuesday, which also happened to be the front-rower’s 39th birthday.
🇿🇦 The Springbok team for tomorrow's Test against England at Twickenham, the last of the season. For all the news from the week, click here: https://t.co/EKwRyTQUzf #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #ENGvRSA #CastleOutgoingTour pic.twitter.com/MoeFYad55H— Springboks (@Springboks) November 19, 2021
Speaking during a Captain’s press conference ahead of their final game of what has been a successful End of Year Tour so far, Kolisi said their thoughts are with Du Plessis - who played 70 Test matches for South Africa between 2007 and 2015 - and his family.
“The guys who are close to him have been speaking to him and obviously we think about him and his family, it makes you think of your own family as well, you know,” Kolisi said.
“It is really tough, our thoughts are with them. It gives us motivation as well, we know we can’t make a big difference, but we will play for him tomorrow. He is family, he is a Springbok legend who has given so much to the jersey. When we are happy, we are happy together. When we are sad, we are sad together. So, we are thinking of him and his family. All we can do is send prayers to them.”
The Boks’ Test against Eddie Jones’ men is of course a highly-anticipated one – and the fact that the blockbuster is a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final only adds to it.
On what they’re expecting from the opposition, the Bok skipper said: “Playing against England is always special and it’s always tough. They’ve got an all-round game. They have a good kicking game and they attack very well with various options. They have a good spine and now they have a lot of new guys, and that’s exciting. We were there a couple of years ago, so we know how exciting it is to have new guys,” he said.
“It’s going to be a big challenge playing against them, we always look forward to it. They have brought it every time we’ve played them. Playing at Twickenham just adds to how special this match is, and we always want to perform wherever we go. I think it’s only my second team playing England at Twickenham.”
The match kicks off at 17:15 (SA time).
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Alex Dombrandt, 22 Raffi Quirke, 23 Max Malins
Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn