Can Boks do it again?
Captain Kolisi expects a high-intensity showdown at Loftus with the All Blacks out for retribution
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says they expect the All Blacks to raise their intensity for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test at Loftus Versfeld.
The game itself is a dead rubber from a tournament perspective, but the Springboks unexpectedly beat the All Blacks in Wellington in September.
It was a shock defeat that caught the New Zealand nation by surprise and retribution is expected to be swift and brutal.
The loss the All Blacks incurred was their first against South Africa, or any Test side, in nine years.
“I think they’ll take it up a notch and they’ve made it clear that they are coming here to win this game. We don’t want to be shocked by their intensity. We need to be ready from the start,” Kolisi said.
“We want to make sure that the same intensity we had for the All Blacks game is there, if not more.
“In that game, we were not worried because we knew we were playing against the best team in the world. All we could do was to do our best. That’s the same mentality that we have for this game.”
It was never going to be easy for the Springboks to find their feet after their momentous win in Wellington, but Kolisi said they did not want to be defined by that single result.
The Springboks lost two consecutive matches to Argentina and Australia away before the victory. And they have yet to find their perfect game.
In the Wellington Test, they conceded an early lead before the fight-back.
In last week’s Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth, the Springboks started well before letting the Wallabies back into the game. The Boks then relied on a superb defensive effort to prevent Australia from scoring in the second half.
“We won that game and that was a huge thing, but we know we’re in a rebuilding process,” Kolisi said.
All Blacks loose-forward Sam Cane said they were not resting on their glorious past record in Tshwane as the Springboks seem to have a different edge.
New Zealand have not lost to the Springboks in four attempts in the capital city in the professional era.
Cane was 14 the last time the All Blacks played at Loftus and occupies the position that belonged to then captain Richie McCaw.
The All Blacks are renowned for their big-match temperament but Cane said they could not rely on the past to deliver.
“Those were different years with different players and teams. We just have to make sure we prepare really well and turn up ready to work really hard and empty the tank.”
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe. Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Ryan Crotty.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)