Siya Kolisi has called on the Springboks to produce an 80-minute performance of high-intensity in Saturday’s Test against England, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Bloemfontein.
Although the Boks managed to pull off a courageous comeback victory over England last Saturday, behind closed doors they have fully acknowledged that it was far from a perfect performance.
At Friday’s captain’s press conference in Bloemfontein, Kolisi again deferred plenty of praise to experienced No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who has been credited for helping calm the players down after the Boks had fallen 24-3 behind at Ellis Park.
Kolisi suggested it was also an important learning curve about how he didn’t need to put all the weight of responsibility on his shoulders, while he reiterated that the nature of the Bok fightback had demonstrated both the character of the players and the intensity needed.
‘It’s quite simple for us, we have our own plans and we won’t change it. It’s about intensity and work rate, and it’s about maintaining that for 80 minutes. We have had another week together as a team and the guys who played against Wales [in Washington] are now over the travel [factor].
‘So we want to start off on a high, and keep up the intensity. There can be no excuses, that is our team motto. We know what is expected of us, and we have to find a way to match that expectation.’
By all accounts, the Boks have enjoyed another productive week of preparation in Bloemfontein, and Kolisi said there was a definite sense that the players were calmer now that the first Test of the series was ‘out of the system’.
‘Of course, we would love to clinch the series this weekend, but we know it is all about executing the processes that we have been working so hard on. I really think it’s all about intensity, and when the bench comes on, we want to see that we keep the tempo up, and I know we that there are players capable of that.’
England have once again spent the week based down in Durban, and are only set to arrive in Bloemfontein on Friday. It’s part of a strategy that they believe will serve them best – despite the fact that the first two Test venues are both at altitude.
Kolisi said they certainly expected another fiercely-fought contest as England seek to send the series into a decider at Newlands next Saturday.
‘England started really well last weekend. We know they have a couple of new players [in their lineup] who will want to prove themselves. This is going to be a Test match of high intensity, and it will really come down to who wants it the most, and who makes the least mistakes.
‘However, from our side, we just want to keep getting better and better as a Bok team. No excuses.’
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