Home Sport Springbok captain Siya Kolisi – Horrible to lose like that

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi – Horrible to lose like that

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi - Horrible to lose like that

Cape Town – In times of adversity, Siya Kolisi tends to stand up and be counted, and that was certainly the case for the Springboks against France at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday night.

Bok fans would have been in disbelief when they saw Pieter-Steph du Toit receive a red card from English referee Wayne Barnes as early as the 12th minute in Marseille.

Some may have even switched off their TVs at that point, as it would’ve been a long shot for the South Africans to beat the in-form French – who had won 11 Tests in a row – on home soil with a player short.

But no one told Kolisi and his team that as they threw themselves at the French with all their might – and almost did the virtually impossible.

The Boks went down 30-26 for a second consecutive loss on their end-of-year tour, following the 19-16 defeat to Ireland last week, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

And it was Kolisi who led the way with a stirring performance as he barged his way through the French defence with ball-in-hand, tackled ferociously and inspired his side to lift themselves even higher to cover for their mate.

The home side were clearly rattled, and struggled to get their game going, with captain Antoine Dupont unable to run the show like he normally does. And when he was sent off early in the second half for tackling Cheslin Kolbe in the air, the Boks would’ve felt that they had a real chance of emerging victorious.

It was not to be in the end, but their skipper expressed his satisfaction with the resolve shown afterwards.

Some you win, some you lose, some you see zikked right in front of your eyes@IOLsport #FRAvRSA @Springboks pic.twitter.com/2Ch8WCT1ez

— Morgan Bolton (@FreemanZAR) November 12, 2022

“Obviously we planned for various scenarios that might happen in a game, so we didn’t freak out when that happened (Du Toit red card),” Kolisi said.

“All we said is that we are going to work a little bit harder, and make sure around the field that we keep on working for one another.

“We are not making excuses that we were 14 men. We said that we were going to work and keep going, and we were not going to stop playing.

“And I thought that we played a little bit more today, and that was the plan from the beginning. We didn’t waver away from the plan, and I thought in actual fact…

“It’s horrible to lose, especially to lose like that. We never want to lose, but the guys played today and I am proud of them. We are going to keep on fighting, and we will learn as we go. The French team were just a little bit better.”

The world champions certainly had enough opportunities to score more than the 26 points they ended up with, as they took on the French by holding onto possession and launching counter-attacks – although Faf de Klerk did put in a few unnecessary box-kicks.

They also lost three lineouts in the first half, and knocked the ball on in the red zone as well.

But goal-kicking wasn’t a problem this time around as they slotted all six shots at the posts, although Deon Fourie’s late yellow card was crucial in allowing the French to be able to hit back with a try and a penalty in the final 10 minutes.

“Every Test that you lose hurts, so this one especially, it hurts for the fact that I thought the players put in a lot of effort and attitude,” Nienaber said in the post-match press conference.

“The chat was that we had some tactical plans – which I’m probably not going to share too much (of) – but the main thing was that the rest of the pack had to put in 10 percent extra.

“And that’s probably why the loss hurts: because they did that, and they kept us in the game. We were 13-0 down, and they kept on fighting and got us back into the game.

“The reality is that they kicked more penalties over than we did. I think it’s two tries all, and I think they maybe missed a conversion. But other than that, they just converted more penalties than us.

“The effort and the attitude that the players showed in the game when we had to go down to 14 men was outstanding – they never gave up. They played their hearts out, and I feel sorry for them because I think they gave everything that they had.”

Scorers

France 30 – Tries: Cyril Baille, Sipili Falatea. Conversion: Thomas Ramos (1). Penalties: Ramos (6).

South Africa 26 – Tries: Siya Kolisi, Kurt-Lee Arendse. Conversions: Cheslin Kolbe (1), Faf de Klerk (1). Penalties: Kolbe (2), De Klerk (1), Damian Willemse (1).

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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