South Africa: Siya Kolisi says discipline and focus vital for Springboks against Wallabies

David Skippers
Siya Kolisi

Excellent discipline and remaining focussed for the entire 80 minutes will be very important for South Africa when they take on Australia in their Rugby Championship encounter in Adelaide on Saturday.

That was the word from Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who admitted they are preparing themselves for a difficult assignment against the Wallabies, who, like them, will be determined to return to winning ways.

“All our attention has been on Australia in the last two weeks and we also looked at their matches against Argentina, so we know what to expect from them,” he said.

Improvement crucial

“We have prepared well, we know what they are going to bring, and we know what we must improve on going into the game, so it’s going to be a big challenge.

“We had a meeting with the referee (Paul Williams from New Zealand), and we understand what he is looking for in the match, and as a team discipline will be key.

“We’ve conceded about seven penalties a match in the last few games, and we know it is going to be a vital area given the small margins in Test rugby, so the entire squad know that they have to stay disciplined for the full 80 minutes.”

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has played at the Adelaide Oval before during his time as a player for South Africa’s Sevens team and highlighted the importance of being mentally switched on.

“If we don’t pitch up mentally, we will be punished,” he said. “We watched the match between Argentina and Australia two weeks ago and we know it will be the same for both teams this week.

“We need to be ready mentally and physically, and if we do that, hopefully the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

Stick praised the quality of the Adelaide Oval pitch and said being back at the venue brought back great memories of his days as a Blitzbok.

“We had our captain’s run at the stadium and the pitch is looking good,” he said.

“I know the stadium well from my Springbok Sevens days, and it looks like weather-wise it is going to be a beautiful day. We know it is going to be a tough challenge, but we are excited.”

Of his experience playing at the stadium, Stick said: “This used to be a happy hunting ground for the Blitzboks, and Adelaide is a lot like Bloemfontein where we also enjoy a lot of support. With most of the Australian players also coming from the big cities, this will be new ground for both teams, so we are looking forward to the match.”

Kolisi believes the back-row battle could play a big part in determining who comes out on top after 80 minutes.

“They have strong loose forwards who have been playing well,” the Bok flanker said. “A guy like Rob Valetini has also been playing particularly well, so we know it is going to be about who dominates at the breakdowns and in the set pieces, so we are expecting a big battle.”

Outside backs set to shine

Meanwhile, Stick highlighted the importance of his team’s outside backs and hopes players like new wing Warrick Gelant, fellow flyer Makazole Mapimpi and exciting playmaker Damian Willemse make an impact on this encounter.

“We have a game plan we want our players to bring their X-factor,” said Stick.

“Warrick and all the other players have the freedom to make decisions on the field and with him having played with Damian at the Stormers, we are hoping to see them combine well and show what makes them special.”

READ MORE: Rugby Championship preview: Wallabies to continue dominance over Springboks in Australia