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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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We can’t fix loadshedding, but we can make South Africans happy, says Bok captain Siya Kolisi

Published Jul 1, 2022


Durban — Siya Kolisi says even the Springboks are powerless against load-shedding but if the lights stay on for people to see his team play Wales in Pretoria tomorrow, he promises they will not be disappointed.

“We can’t make the lights come on but for the time we are on the field we can make South Africans happy,” smiled Kolisi at his captain’s press conference in Johannesburg on Friday ahead of his team’s first match of the year.

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“We have chatted about this game at length and want to make sure we play well and make everybody proud in our first game of the year,” he continued. “Rugby is not just a game for us, it goes far deeper than that, and this game being sold out reminds us once again of our responsibility to our country.”

Incredibly, this is the first game the Boks will play in front of home fans since they won the World Cup in 2019. They did not play a single game in 2020 and last year their games against the British and Irish Lions and two Rugby Championship games against Argentina were played behind closed doors.

Kolisi said it is imperative that his team hits the ground running in 2022 after last having played in November last year when they lost by a single point to England at Twickenham, 26-27.

“Last year we lost a lot of games by close margins and the coaches have spent many hours analysing why that happened (they also lost very narrowly to Australia and New Zealand),” Kolisi said. “We have identified why that happened and this year we are determined to ensure those two-point differences go our way.”

In the Boks’ path on Saturday is a Wales team that has slipped to ninth on the world rankings after a dismal Six Nations, which ended in a first-ever defeat to Italy in their last match, in March.

Kolisi said that that embarrassment will fire up the visitors, especially because they are playing the No 1 ranked team in the world.

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“Our coaches have been telling us to put ourselves in their shoes so we can understand just how desperate they will be, and so that we know we have a huge fight on our hands.

“And we know what to expect because we have been in the exact same situation. I was in the team that lost to Japan for the first time. We also lost to Italy,” Kolisi explained. “We know how desperate we were to climb out of that hole. We recall what we were prepared to do to fix things.

“So Wales are going to come at us for the full 80 minutes. Physically, they will go toe to toe with us. We have to pitch up with the same attitude as they will have and start with intensity. That first 20 minutes is vital.”

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