A fully-fit Siya Kolisi will lead out the Springboks for the second time in five days when they face Canada at the Kobe Misaki Stadium on Tuesday.
‘Physically I feel good,’ said the Bok captain ahead of their final Pool B match.
‘My body feels good and I’m really glad to get more minutes. I’ve been injured for quite a bit but the form is getting better and better and 100% I prefer to play – it just feels better.’
‘Sometimes a break is good but at my union we never come off a break very well, so I just prefer playing the whole time.’
‘I put a lot of pressure on myself and I expect a lot of myself and I’m always looking for work on the field – to do a bit more – because the guys are doing well and it’s contagious. My fitness levels have got back up, so hopefully I can do better again tomorrow.’
Kolisi will combine with the lively Kwagga Smith and Francois Louw in a new-look loose trio, with Louw excited about the prospect of finding some chemistry.
‘I’m looking forward to playing alongside Siya and Kwagga,’ said the Bok eighthman.
‘I think we’re all essentially No 6s, so it’s an interesting combination! These days I find myself playing at No 8 quite a lot, which is a role I also really enjoy.’
‘They both bring a dynamic game. I’ve played a lot of rugby with Siya over my career so I know what he is all about; not so much with Kwagga, but I’m very pleased for him that he has made the step up into the Springbok side and established himself.
‘He is a tough player, a Springbok Sevens player so he brings a different dynamic to the back row. He is good in the loose play but also likes to get stuck into the tight stuff. I’m sure we’ll complement each other where we can and make up for each others’ weaknesses where they are and hopefully put together a good performance.’
The Springboks are overwhelming favourites to get the win against Canada and advance to the quarter-finals, with Kolisi reflecting on the honour of leading the team.
‘I’m really honoured and it’s a huge privilege for me to be Springbok captain, but it has been all work so far and I’ve not had a moment to sit and think about it too much,’ added Kolisi.
‘I know what it means to me and my family and I’m really proud, but I’m also really grateful to the guys that I have around me to help me out.
‘Captaincy for me is not specifically an individual’s job – if you’ve got great leaders around you, why not use them? I know that there’s going to be tough calls – and I will make them – but I always get help if I need help.
‘That’s the way I do things because I don’t believe I know everything. After the tournament is done I’ll probably have a sit and think about it, but for now there’s a job to do and that’s what I’m focusing on.’
Kick-off against Canada is at 12:15pm SA time.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 7, 2019
Photo: Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets