Jacques Nienaber and Siya Kolisi say the Springboks’ mauling of the All Blacks on Saturday is only the first step to perfecting their gameplan for the rest of the Rugby Championship.
“We spoke about it in the week and all we asked was to pitch up with intensity and try and be accurate in what we had planned, and I thought we did it well,” the Bok coach said after the world champions thumped their old foes 26-10 in the opening Test of the competition. “But I don’t think we’re the finished product yet.
“We did a good assessment after the Wales series. I think we have improved; I think we have built on stuff that we thought there wasn’t good growth in the Wales series. I think we are slowly really building our game, but I don’t think it is the finished product yet.”
Kolisi added: “It feels good tonight, but we know the Championship is not done yet. We have five more games to go, but the next important one is next week. But to win tonight in front of a crowd like that was very special.”
Nienaber had a special word of praise for Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx, who was named Man of the Match on his 50th Test appearance.
“I thought he was outstanding – and that’s Malcolm,” said Nienaber. “He is the guy that exemplifies what a Springbok should be. He is a warrior; a guy who had to work hard to get where he is. He had to make the change from loose forward to hooker – so he really had to work hard to get where he is.
“I have worked with him since he was an U20 in 2014 and it is phenomenal to see what a guy he has become. This was a milestone game and hopefully it will prepare the road going forward for him for the next 50 Test matches.”
On the support of a passionate crowd at Mbombela Stadium, Kolisi said: “I just don’t know how South African people do it.
“The way they turn up with everything that’s going on in our country. People who can still afford it, still come along and still fill up the stadium for us and it means the world to us as a team.
“Running out and hearing people screaming like that it drives us as a team. That’s what Jacques always reminds us: ‘It’s not about me’. If I make a mistake, I must keep on going because it’s about the people who are coming each and every time to watch us play.
“I hope we made them proud today, because they definitely got us going from the anthem onwards.”