Siya Kolisi says the Springboks will aim to bring real intensity to proceedings in anticipation of facing a vengeful All Blacks team this Saturday, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Pretoria.
The rebuilding Boks sent out a statement of intent when they claimed a famous win over the All Blacks in Wellington on 15 September. The enduring question since then has been whether the Springboks can back that victory up with a performance of similar quality when the two teams clash once again this weekend.
While the Springboks have trained with real intensity in Pretoria, the All Blacks have gone about their business down in Johannesburg. There has been a growing sense in the musings from the New Zealand camp that the visitors have arrived in South Africa with a point to prove.
Since winning the 2015 World Cup in emphatic fashion, the Kiwis have tasted defeat in just four games. They are a team that is not used to losing, and they have now set their sights on redemption against the Boks.
Chatting to the media at the Bok captain’s press conference on Friday, Kolisi said the team was certainly aware of the tension that was building ahead of kick-off.
‘Obviously the All Blacks have already won the Rugby Championship, but we have heard them speaking of the fact that they are coming here with a real desire to win this one. We can all see that this is the game that is very important to them and where they will be looking to get their revenge. So we’re aware of just what to expect and how physical it’s going to be. You can feel the vibe and excitement building.’
To the Boks’ credit, they appeared to rattle the All Blacks with their level of intensity and accuracy in Wellington. Kolisi said it was the sort of effort that the hosts would need to maintain from the first minute to the last at Loftus.
‘The most important thing is to have the same intensity of Wellington, or even greater. Our focus for that game was really just to produce the best performance we possibly could without worrying too much about the score.
‘We can’t afford to be surprised by what the All Blacks bring. We know they are going to take it up a notch, they’ve made that clear, and so we are aware of what’s coming. From the word go, we must be ready, and ensure that our all-round game is on point.’