Siya Kolisi has hailed Malcolm Marx after the hooker’s man-of-the-match performance helped the Springboks convincingly beat the All Blacks in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Marx turned in a superb performance in his 50th Test appearance as the Boks hammered the All Blacks pack to begin the 2022 Rugby Championship with a 26-10 win.
“Sometimes I sit and wonder at how he puts his head in at the breakdown the whole time and comes up with the [ball],” Bok skipper Kolisi said of Marx in a post-match interview.
“He has been a guy who has been a proper ambassador of Springbok rugby. I’m really proud of him.”
Marx, who made his Test debut in a 41-13 defeat by New Zealand in 2013, played down his heroics and milestone achievement at Mbombela Stadium, where he bagged an impressive four turnovers in 53 minutes.
“It’s always tough playing against the All Blacks, they always make you work until the last minute,” he said.
“It’s tough to say [what stood out in his 50th], I’m just trying to soak it all in. Everyone put their hearts on the line and defended really well.
“I was just trying to contribute as much as I can to the team, where I can.”
The result marks South Africa’s first home win over New Zealand since 2014 and, as the scoreline suggests, the Boks dominated the All Blacks physically – at the set piece and in the aerial battle.
Kolisi said: “It was honestly a grind [but] was exactly what we wanted, we wanted it to be uptight. They did well, they’re an amazing team going through a tough time.
“But, coming here to Mbombela, it’s a special place and to see so many South Africans coming out in their numbers, it’s really beautiful and there’s nothing better than this feeling.
“With all the things we wanted to do we could obviously get better but we won in the air and kept things as structured as possible, and when it came to unstructured we kept our discipline to make the tackles because we know how dangerous they can be and players who can break the game at any time.
“The job is not done and we’ve got a great opportunity to come back and fix what we didn’t get right today, and we’ve never been in this position before where we can win two Test matches against the All Blacks in South Africa.”