Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has rejected the idea that they were pulling their punches against Georgia for fear of revealing anything ahead of the British & Irish Lions series. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Springboks made a solid return to Test rugby as they ran in six tries in a good workout in the first of two Tests against Georgia on Friday evening.
While the World Cup holders looked understandably rusty in the first 20 minutes or so, they ground down a determined Georgia side, eventually running out 40-9 winners.
Kolisi, who completed his first 80 minutes for the Springboks since the 2019 World Cup, said after the match that he was pleased with his team’s effort after they were stunned early on by a physical Georgian effort.
“We weren’t holding anything back,” Kolisi explained. “We did everything that we wanted from the game. Obviously, we didn’t start the way we wanted to. They caught us off guard. We knew what they were going to bring, but we couldn’t get our systems going. The discipline let us down in the first half, but we were able to pick it up in the second half.
“We aren’t hiding what we want from our team, which is physicality and being a warrior. That’s what we wanted to see today and also giving opportunities for people to show their circus acts, the stuff they are good at.”
Kolisi added that the Springboks anticipated a tough battle in the set piece against Georgia and know that the British & Irish Lions pride themselves in that area of the game as well.
“We don’t hide away from any of that. Our set piece is important to us. We know it will be important to the Lions, too, and the Georgians as well. The Georgians showed us what they are capable of. It was always going to be a tough battle and I think we responded in the second half.”
With one more Test against Georgia before the all-important Lions series gets under way, Kolisi said the Springboks will want to use next Friday’s match to work on their intensity and discipline.
“Just the way that we start, our intensity, making sure that we don’t wait so long to get going. Obviously, we want better discipline. We want to impose our gameplan on the Georgians as soon as we can. But I thought we responded well and we left a couple of opportunities out there.”
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