Captain Siya Kolisi says the Springboks remain hungry for another win over England and ultimately a resounding 3-0 series triumph, reports JON CARDINELLI in Cape Town.
The Boks beat England 23-12 in Bloemfontein last Saturday to take an unassailable lead in the three-Test series. Coach Rassie Erasmus has made five changes to his starting lineup in the buildup to the final game at Newlands, citing the need to develop some depth before the 2019 World Cup.
On Friday, Kolisi told the media that the changes will not impact on the team’s tactics and mindset. According to the skipper, the Boks are determined to claim another scalp and ensure that the final series scorecard reads: South Africa 3, England 0.
‘We’ve spoken about the danger of complacency,’ Kolisi said. ‘This is no time to relax. If you think about the mistakes we made in those last two games, and how England have led in the early stages of both Tests, we have a lot to fix.
‘We want to finish this series properly. This is the last Test for another two months [before the Rugby Championship kicks off on 18 August]. We can’t focus too much on winning or losing on Saturday. It’s more about giving absolutely everything and sticking to our processes in the next 80 minutes.’
Chiliboy Ralepelle will start at hooker, while Erasmus has made four changes to the backline. Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), André Esterhuizen and Jesse Kriel (centres), and Warrick Gelant (fullback) may take some time to settle.
One combination that will remain intact is that of Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen. The two loose forwards have complemented each other well in terms of the leadership roles they’ve played in the last two Tests.
‘The job of the captaincy will be tougher if you make it all about yourself,’ said Kolisi. ‘You have to allow others to help you. You have to make it about the team.
‘Duane has been huge, in terms of supporting me and in terms of his role on the field. I’m lucky that everyone has supported me. I haven’t chatted that much beyond speaking to the ref. I’ve been confident that the other guys would chip in when necessary.
‘I was very nervous about the captaincy when Rassie first approached me,’ Kolisi added. ‘The whole country is watching and it can be quite overwhelming.
‘The coach has been very good in terms of narrowing it down and ensuring that I focus on my job on the field. I’ve probably never been better prepared for a single game than I was for that first Test in Johannesburg. A lot of work has gone into this campaign.’
Erasmus awarded Kolisi the captaincy for the duration of the three-Test series. It is yet to be confirmed whether Kolisi will continue in the role beyond the third Test against England. Warren Whiteley and Eben Etzebeth, who both enjoyed stints as Bok captain last season, will return from their respective long-term injuries in the Rugby Championship.
‘We’ve not spoken about the captaincy [in the long-term],’ Kolisi said. ‘We’re not looking beyond the next Test, though.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images