Springboks captain Siya Kolisi was delighted to return to winning ways against Italy after a difficult start to their Autumn Nations Series campaign.
Kolisi’s men ran riot in Genoa, beating Italy 63-12 in a beautiful display of rugby that will be a great relief after two narrow defeats to Ireland and France this month.
South Africa showed they can move the ball through the hands and score tries as their attack looked far more potent against an Italian side who had just beaten the Wallabies the week before.
The flanker was happy with how the squad prepared for the game and believes it was an “important” victory for the Springboks.
“I’m pleased with the way we prepared for the match,” said Kolisi.
“We showed Italy the respect that they deserve, and as I said on Friday, they’re a very different team to a few years ago.
“We knew we had to play to the best of our ability, and it was clear by how tight the first half was. We had to dig deep. As South Africans we are used to facing adversity and we knew we had to lift ourselves. Our focus all week was only on the game because it was very important for us to get a win today.”
Kolisi admits the Springboks were looking to show more balance in their play which is usually heavily reliant on the physical battle.
“As a team we want to play well, score tries, offload and put people away, and we enjoyed the game today. We also enjoy the physical part of the game, and to get that balance right was important. That said, doing this once is not enough, we have to keep doing it,” said the skipper.
“The last two games were very close, but I believe we are heading in the right direction.”
More to come
Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber agreed with Kolisi’s sentiment but believes his team can still improve moving forward.
“We certainly all want to see the team moving forward in this direction. Today we capitalised on the opportunities we created, but I don’t think it was a near perfect performance,” he said.
“We can always get better. That said, the work the guys have put in over the last month in terms of where we want to be heading into 2023 is great. The players are taking ownership and we are building.
“But as Siya said, one good game isn’t good enough. We need to get consistency. The challenge of course is when things don’t always go your way, to dig yourself out of it and try to get consistency.”
The Springboks face a tricky Test against England this weekend, who managed to steal a 25-25 draw against the All Blacks on Saturday.