South Africa: Siya Kolisi believes series decider against Wales will build character

David Skippers

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi feels having their backs to the wall builds character and will help with their preparations for Saturday’s crunch match against Wales.

With the three-Test series level at 1-1 after games in Pretoria and Bloemfontein, it’s a winner-takes-all encounter in Cape Town and Kolisi said the Springboks will not be panicking under the pressure which comes with their current circumstances.

Not a new situation

“We have been in these situations before, and it builds character,” he said.

“The coaches want us to be in situations such as these, so this is nothing new for us. But I am sure Wales have been in these situations, too.

“Wales are a tough team – they don’t stop playing for 80 minutes – but we are looking forward to this weekend.

“We looked at last week’s game and where they were strong, and we have been working on that and on improving our game.”

Wales‘ 13-12 victory in that second Test in Bloemfontein has led to Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber recalling Kolisi and nine other players who started the 2019 Rugby World Cup final to his run-on side for this weekend’s clash against Wayne Pivac‘s charges.

The encounter will be South Africa’s last fixture before they face New Zealand in their Rugby Championship opener in Nelspruit on August 6.

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“We are still in a building phase to the World Cup (next year),” he said.

“Last week, we were not happy with the result. We had several opportunities which could have allowed us to put them away, but we didn’t use them.

“This week will probably tell us where we are as a team. We have no doubt it is going to be another big tussle, but we will do everything we can to win.

“Wales have a similar style of play, and they can feed off scraps and create something from nothing, so we are aware of the challenge that lies ahead.”

Special milestones

Saturday’s Test will see Bok second-row Eben Etzebeth becoming seventh South African to play his 100th Test while hooker Bongi Mbonambi will make his 50th Test appearance.

Kolisi added: “This is a special occasion for Eben and his family.

“It is special to achieve what he has, and to be the youngest player to achieve it makes it even more remarkable, so we are happy for him and for Bongi.

“We want to win this match for them, but more importantly for the Springboks and the people of South Africa.”

READ MORE: South Africa v Wales preview: Springboks to clinch series with narrow victory in Cape Town


South Africa v Wales preview

Planet Rugby previews the series deciding third Test between South Africa and Wales at the Cape Town Stadium.