Springbok captain Siya Kolisi admits it’s going to take the best of us’ to beat Ireland in World Cup thriller

In France, they are calling it “Le Crunch”. It is the big one of the World Cup so far as Ireland and the Springboks going head to head, and Siya Kolisi reckons a match cannot be greater in stature.

“I think this is as big as it gets,” the Bok captain said from Paris yesterday.

“We are playing the No 1 team in the world in a crucial World Cup game – that is what you dream about as a child.

“They are an amazing side – they have won 14 in a row – so it’s going to take the best of us to beat them. I am looking forward to it, and I can see the excitement all around the world … Everybody is keen for this game.”

That is just about an understatement. If you venture outdoors in South Africa, every second person is wearing green and gold, and social media is awash with Bok hype.

The fans can’t wait, and neither can a Bok team that could not be better prepared.

“The amount of work that (coach) Jacques Nienaber and (SA director of rugby) Rassie Erasmus put in with their coaching staff is ridiculous,” Kolisi said.

“The day after we have play a match, we already have information about the next opponents. I always see them in meetings at seven o’clock sharp.

“The information is exactly what you need to know. It’s crazy, because when we were playing Scotland, I’d watched someone’s profile – and at that moment I looked at this guy, I knew exactly how he was going to come and tackle me.

“Those kinds of things help a lot.”

Erasmus is a former Bok loose forward and has been coaching since even before he retired in 2003.

Kolisi said this gives Erasmus unique insights into the current players.

“Rassie gets us as people, he gets us as human beings. He reminds us exactly what we do and who we are doing it for,” the No 6 said.

“He played at this level and he never stops thinking about rugby, but he also thinks about some of the mistakes he made when he played, and he is not scared to share. Whatever you are going through, he is always there.”

Kolisi leads a team that are building nicely towards a peak, but the one area that has supporters watching with one hand over their eye is the goal-kicking.

Flyhalf Manie Libbok is still searching for his best form, but Kolisi is relaxed.

“I don’t have to manage the kicking,” Kolisi said calmly. “Manie makes decisions. He says, ‘I’ve got it’. If he misses, he’ll still say ‘I’ve got it’ – and if it isn’t working, then Faf (de Klerk) kicks for posts.

“Everybody thinks I make these big decisions, but we have leaders all over the team. All I have to worry about is talking to the ref and seeing if things are going well. That is my role.

“Regarding the kicking, I have to respect what Faf and Manie think. No matter what Manie is going through with his kicking, if he tells

me ‘I’ve got this’, then I leave him be – unless we feel we have got momentum and we want to go for the corner – but I don’t think about what could go wrong.

“We don’t want Manie sitting and stressing about it, because he has so many great things in his game.

“The first time he came I had a conversation with him, I said, ‘Manie, do the same as you do at the Stormers. When you speak, we will shut up. I don’t care that you don’t have any caps, you are the man. When we are playing and you are calling the moves we will keep quiet and we will listen to you.’”


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