Kolisi in high spirits ahead of big match

Rampaging loose forward Siya Kolisi is planning to take his Springbok teammates for a slap-up tshisa nyama feast in Zwide this weekend ahead of next Saturday’s test against Argentina in Port Elizabeth.

Kolisi says he is delighted to back in his home town as the Springboks prepare for their crucial opening match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The former Grey High pupil, who was born in Zwide, was one of the stars in South Africa’s recent 3-0 whitewash over France, has been named as vice-captain for the Argentina clash.

”I am very excited about the match. It will be good to play at home and I know how much the people of Port Elizabeth enjoy and support rugby,” Kolisi said.

“I wish we could play many more tests here in Port Elizabeth and I am excited that I can have my family come and watch me play here. When we come to Port Elizabeth I always brag that this is the home of rugby.”

The Springboks arrived in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, but Kolisi has not yet had the time to visit his pals and some of his former haunts.

“I have not had time to do any visiting yet, but I will go over the weekend because we are free.

“I will take a couple of the guys for a tshisa nyama.”

The Bok star says he gets plenty of appeals for test tickets from mates and he is sorry he cannot accommodate them all.

“But I try and whatever I have I will give. When I do have tickets I give them away, but I cannot buy everyone tickets,” he joked.

“Being named Springbok vice-captain is a huge honour and privilege for me. I really have not thought about it, but I am also happy for my mate Eben Etzebeth who was named captain. I work closely with Eben at the Stormers as well.

“It is a responsibility that I like and I enjoy leading from the front. So hopefully this can help me play better.

Kolisi, who grew up in Zwide, impressed scouts at a youth tournament in Mossel Bay when he was only 12 and was offered a scholarship at Grey High.

That sparked a career that has seen him develop into one of South Africa’s finest players.

“I know the people come out in numbers here in Port Elizabeth when the Springboks play,” the forward said.

“When we trained at the Gelvandale Stadium earlier this week the support was amazing. I have never seen so many people at a Springbok training session before.

“It was a great way to start the year by beating the French, but we know this will be totally different going forward.

“The Argentineans and Australians play a different style of rugby.

“Our focus in preparation is always on ourselves and that is what we want. We must stick to our systems and do what the coaches say.

“They have been working and planning for what is about to happen while we were playing Super Rugby for our franchises . This week has been an amazing week here in Port Elizabeth so far.

“It was a tough Super Rugby season and we came close again to winning it. I say ‘we’ because the whole of South Africa was behind the Lions in the final against the Crusaders, which was amazing

“The focus is now on the next couple of games for the Springboks and we will take it game by game.”

Kolisi said it was important for the team to start with a win against Argentina, but they had to concentrate on the processes.

“It is always good to start well and it is all about momentum and we want to get better and better every week. We are very excited and we want to do even better than we did against the French. We are very keen.

“The Springboks have a good record in Port Elizabeth and I love playing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. We don’t get as much rugby as we want here and the Kings are out of Super Rugby now.”

Officials are predicting that the test will be watched by a sellout 45 000 crowd.

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