Siya Kolisi says the Springboks have been inspired by the reinvigorated support from a cosmopolitan South African rugby fraternity, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Pretoria.
The Boks are set to face the All Blacks in front of a capacity crowd at Loftus on Saturday. There was a similar turnout in Port Elizabeth last weekend when the Springboks overcame the Wallabies at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
It’s this surge in support that reflects a new-found public optimism following the Boks’ famous win over the All Blacks in Wellington, and the people of Pretoria seemingly cannot wait for Saturday’s highly anticipated rematch to kick-off.
Kolisi said the team had certainly sensed the upswell in rousing support from the passionate fan base.
‘It makes such a big difference,’ he told the media on Friday. ‘It’s understandable for fans to feel hurt when we lose, and we feel the same thing. But it’s really been wonderful to see people of all different cultures and backgrounds getting really excited about the Boks again.
‘The PE crowd that came out last Saturday was really special, and that was undoubtedly one of my favourite Tests at home. The whole game the vibe was amazing, and all we really want to do is make sure people can see that we are putting in the best possible effort and showing how much it means to us to play for the Boks.’
Since Kolisi’s appointment as captain, a group of fans called the Gwijo Squad are becoming increasingly well known for making their way to Bok games and adding an infectious atmosphere to proceedings with their passionate singing and dancing.
On Thursday, a video emerged showing Bok wings S’bu Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi dancing with singing fans in Pretoria, which rather aptly epitomised the colourful support building around the squad.
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Kolisi could only smile when he was asked about the diversity that was being seen in the Bok support base.
‘Everyone knows that we also sing and dance in the changing room as a team, and we all come from different backgrounds and cultures. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the country we are representing.
‘It’s great for us to see all sorts of different people out there singing and showing in their own way how they support the team. We can feel it and hear it. All the songs, from “Kaptein [Span die Seile]”, all of it, it makes a big difference,’ he added to laughter.
‘I think the most beautiful thing is to see all different races and cultures all standing together as one.’
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