Home Sport WATCH: Siya Kolisi calls on Springboks to get physical with France

WATCH: Siya Kolisi calls on Springboks to get physical with France

WATCH: Siya Kolisi calls on Springboks to get physical with France

Cape Town – While the Springboks have been based in the idyllic city of Toulon this week, they are now heading to Marseille – an historic part of the French Revolution and the birthplace of the national anthem, La Marseillaise – looking to topple the 2023 Rugby World Cup hosts a year out from the showpiece tournament.

Antoine Dupont’s France team are the favourites to clinch the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time next October, but they need to prove it by knocking over the current world champions at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday night (10pm SA time kickoff).

Coach Fabien Galthie has guided Les Bleus to a French record 11 wins in a row, but guess what: they have lost their last seven Tests to the Boks, with their previous win coming in 2009 in Toulouse.

After South Africa were beaten 19-16 by the World No 1-ranked Ireland in Dublin a week ago, Siya Kolisi’s team are the definite underdogs against the French.

They were far from their best at the Aviva Stadium as they wasted a number of scoring opportunities and missed out on seven points via goal-kicks.

Yet, what will give them confidence is the fact that they still nearly pulled off a triumph in Ireland. The Boks would want to make a statement tonight, much like they did a year before the 2019 World Cup when they beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in 2018.

That steely resolve was evident at Friday’s captain’s press conference. When Kolisi was asked what the most important factor will be to determine the result, he said simply: “This weekend, for sure, physicality.”

The Boks are at their most dangerous when they are able to “get up” for a game, and it certainly seems to be the case this week – perhaps due to the fact that last week, their travel schedule was delayed in getting to Dublin, some of the players weren’t able to feature in the URC due to postponements, and there was uncertainty about their back-three combination with Cheslin Kolbe at fullback, as well as Damian Willemse at flyhalf.

And even though the forceful Jasper Wiese was ruled out with concussion on Friday – with Kwagga Smith now starting at No 8 – the visitors can’t wait to get stuck into the monster French pack.

“It’s physicality from both teams, not just from them, as we also are going to bring physicality,” Kolisi later elaborated.

“They know what they’re good at as a team, and they do that very well. Coach Rassie (Erasmus) always tells us that Test matches are between our plan and their plan, and their systems and all of that – and they know their plan very well, and they don’t go away from it.

“They are able to impose themselves on other teams very well, and that’s what we had to study as a team. So, we are going to try to meet them in that, but we are a genuinely physical team as well.

“So, it’s going to be a good test tomorrow. We will see what their tactics and our tactics are going to be, but the mauling and the scrumming are direct, and it’s going to be all about who wants it the most tomorrow – and obviously the technical things.”

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus was alongside Kolisi and spoke about France’s approach, and how they kick the most out of all top teams, so that is probably why Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse were preferred ahead of Makazole Mapimpi at wing – in order to fight fire with fire with the boot and in the air.

But all of that effort will amount to nothing if the Boks can’t convert their possession, territory and pressure into points, which is something that has hamstrung them in 2022.

They need to be ruthless inside the French 22, while Kolbe needs to slot his goals too in order to silence the 67 000-strong capacity crowd.

“We just want to make sure that we are playing like we plan to play in the week. The biggest thing is that we keep on going through (the fact) that we are creating all of these opportunities,” Kolisi said.

“But this weekend, we’ve got a very good plan. It’s a big game, and we always want to win in the Springbok jersey. For the momentum going forward, it’s also going to make a difference.

“We have been trying to build from last week already, and it didn’t go our way. But it’s going to be important to play them here, as it’s going to be the same atmosphere next year.

“It will be good to test all of us as a group, and if we are able to take the kind of pressure that we are going to feel on Saturday…”

Teams

France: 15 Thomas Ramos 14 Damian Penaud 13 Gael Fickou 12 Jonathan Danty 11 Yoram Moefana 10 Romain Ntamack 9 Antoine Dupont (captain) 8 Gregory Alldritt 7 Charles Ollivon 6 Anthony Jelonch 5 Thibaud Flament 4 Cameron Woki 3 Uini Atonio 2 Julien Marchand 1 Cyril Baille.

Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka 17 Reda Wardi 18 Sipili Falatea 19 Romain Taofifenua 20 Bastien Chalureau 21 Sekou Macalou 22 Maxime Lucu 23 Matthieu Jalibert.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Cheslin Kolbe 13 Jesse Kriel 12 Damian de Allende 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse 10 Damian Willemse 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Kwagga Smith 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Ox Nche.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Vincent Koch 19 Marvin Orie 20 Deon Fourie 21 Cobus Reinach 22 Manie Libbok 23 Makazole Mapimpi.

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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