Captain Siya Kolisi says he was confident the Springboks could secure victory against the All Blacks after watching the closing stages from the sidelines.
The Boks spent the final 10 minutes of the Test in Wellington, which they won 36-34, camped in their own 22 as they kept the relentless All Blacks from scoring a potential winning try.
Speaking after the team’s arrival in Johannesburg, Kolisi, who was substituted in the 66th minute of the match, said he had full confidence in his teammates to see the game out.
‘To be honest, for some reason I was not too nervous [after being subbed]. We felt it. We played well and you could see the guys were defending well. Obviously, you are a bit nervous and sometimes you get lucky in the game.
‘We were nervous but confident at the same time that the guys would make the tackles. It means that we are growing and getting better as a team.’
Kolisi said the team largely ignored the talk in the media that built the All Blacks up as massive favourites to win the match and chose to focus on themselves instead.
‘It was a normal and regular week for us. We felt like we just wanted to play for one another.’
The Boks will face the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth on 29 September, before taking on the All Blacks in Pretoria on 6 October. Kolisi echoed coach Rassie Erasmus’ sentiments that they need to ensure they keep growing.
‘We spoke a bit after the game. It was the best game we have played defensively. We took our opportunities. The most important thing is building from that. That is what we are going to be working on.
‘For us, it is a simple thing, we have just got to keep working hard. The coach said it perfectly afterwards, our hard work got us the win with a bit of luck. We have just got to keep on working hard.’
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