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Kolisi urges fans not to give up as Boks look to bounce back

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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi urged South Africa’s rugby faithful not to give up on the team after two disappointing defeats in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and vowed that the Boks would give everything this week to bounce back and remain in the title race.

Kolisi said the Boks have been working hard at training and that two of the key focus areas this week would be to convert their point-scoring chances into points and to break out of the blocks quickly after slow starts in their last two matches, against Australia and New Zealand.

“It has been a tough week coming off last weekend’s result, but we’ve prepared as well as possible this week,” said Kolisi.

“We left a lot of opportunities out on the field in Adelaide, and we are hurting as a team, so we know we need to make sure we play better this week. We’ve pointed fingers at ourselves, and it has certainly been an emotional week for us.”

The Springbok flanker added: “As a team we understand our South African fans’ frustration and we accept that they are upset. We feel the same frustration and we would like to urge them not to give up on us. We’ve worked hard this week at training, and we’ll do our best this weekend.

“We certainly want to be as consistent as possible, and we know that we need to start this match with more intent. We must be better this weekend or else we will be out of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship race.”

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick also stressed the importance of using their opportunities this week after creating several last week, and said: “Australia are a tough team, so we need to get into the mindset to convert our chances into points.”

Stick and Kolisi were both thrilled to see talented 19-year-old utility back Canan Moodie named in the side for what will be his Test debut, which will see him become the second-youngest player to become a Springbok since re-admission in 1992.

“We are excited to see what he can do,” said Stick.

“He put in some physical hits in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, and it’s good to see him get this opportunity. He will face a challenge going up against Marika Koroibete, but he has a lot of experienced players around him and I know he’ll be up for the challenge. I’m not worried about him at all.

“We are very proud of what he has achieved, and I am sure his family is very happy for him as well.”

Kolisi also had full faith in the young player’s ability to make his presence felt and said: “I helped Canan this week as well and it is great to see how he eager he is to learn and to do extras.

“It was great to see what he did against us (the Cell C Sharks) in the quarter-final of the Vodacom URC. A person would not have said he was still at school a little while ago, so I’m definitely not nervous for him.”

Of the injuries to Lukhanyo Am (centre) and Handre Pollard (flyhalf), Stick admitted that while it was a blow and sad for the players, there were positives in that Jesse Kriel (centre) and Damian Willemse (flyhalf) would get a chance to start against Australia, which will boost the team’s depth with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“It is not nice to lose players to injury and losing players such as Handre and Lukhanyo, who are key players in our system, was a big loss,” said Stick. “But Damian (Willemse) and Jesse have done the job for us before, so it was an easy call to make.

“Jesse has been part of our system for a long time, and he’s one of the most capped players in the group. He has played at wing for us, but I think he is excited to get a run at centre, and we trust him 100%.”

Of Willemse starting at flyhalf, Stick said: “Damian Willemse is a very special player, and he brings a lot of energy. He has played flyhalf for the DHL Stormers and he has played there for us before, and it is great to see how he is growing in our game and how his confidence is growing.

“He is a warrior and I know he’ll bring his part on Saturday. I’m also looking forward to seeing him and Jaden (Hendrikse) play together.”

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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Fans flock back to see the Boks in action

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South Africa Rugby - Image Credit Asics

The Springboks came close to a claiming a fifth Castle Lager Rugby Championship title this season, and although there was disappointment in the end, the men in green and gold still performed very well, with a number of Boks dominating the individual statistical analysis of the competition, while South African rugby supporters made the most of the opportunity to return to stadiums.

Due to the COVID-pandemic, the Boks last played in front of fans in South Africa in 2019, and this year just under 300,000 supporters streamed through the gates at the six Tests in South Africa.

For the three Tests against Wales (in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town), and the three Castle Lager Rugby Championship encounters on home soil (in Nelspruit, Johannesburg and Durban), 297,298 supporters – or a superb 98.91% of full capacity at the six stadiums – saw the Boks in action in South Africa.

Jacques Nienaber’s team finished the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with four wins from their six matches, their most since 2014 and 2013, when they also finished second behind New Zealand with four wins.

South Africa beat Argentina twice (38-21 and 36-20 for a nett points’ difference of +33), won one against Australia – their first away win in the competition over the Wallabies since 2013 – and lost one Down Under (24-8 and 17-25 for a nett points’ difference of +8), and ended equal with New Zealand on one win and one defeat (26-10 and 23-35 for a nett points’ difference of +4).

Zoning in on individual performances in the last two months of international rugby, Malcolm Marx’s influence in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship was clear for all to see, with the Springbok hooker dominating in a number of key areas.

Marx scored two tries – the same as his team-mates Damian De Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Kwagga Smith – which placed them joint-third on the list of top try scorers, behind All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho with five, as well as flankers Juan Martin Gonzalez of Argentina (4) and Fraser McReight of Australia (3).

But Marx also dominated on the ground, where he topped the list of breakdown turnovers won, with seven. Second on the list was Springbok captain Siya Kolisi with six, followed by Pumas captain Julian Montoya (five).

The All Blacks duo of Ardie Savea and Sam Whitelock, and Argentina’s Pablo Matera, were all on four, while Kwagga Smith and Steven Kitshoff won three each.

Lood de Jager made the most tackles of any Springbok with 62 (he placed fourth overall, behind the Pumas trio of Marcos Kremer (79), Montoya (66) and Gonzalez (66), while Marx and Kolisi came in at joint-ninth with 54 tackles each.

The Boks’ strongest ball carriers were Jasper Wiese (51 carries for 307m won), De Allende (48 carries for 333m) and Marx (40 carries for 222m).

Four players were tied at the top of the list for average metres gained per carry, namely SA’s Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Canan Moodie and New Zealand’s Caleb Clarke, all with an average of 13m, with Clarke’s 540m the most metres gained by any player in 2022, while Mapimpi’s seven clean breaks were the most this season.

The Boks’ starting locks ruled in the air, with De Jager’s 26 lineouts won topping the list, and Etzebeth coming in second with 25.

The top points’ scorers during the competition were Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli and New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga, both of whom scored 71 points in their six games, with Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard coming in at third with 32 points in three games.

Content & Images from – South Africa Rugby


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Barrett relishes opportunity in 12 jersey

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It didn’t take long after Saturday’s 40-14 Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship win over Australia for new second five-eighths Jordie Barrett to feel the effects of his changed role.

While he played nearly three-quarters of the earlier Test against Australia in the position, it was a full-fledged effort on Saturday. He remarked that he wouldn’t have to wake up in the morning to feel the effects of the different, and more physically challenging, role at second five-eighths.

 

He was already feeling the effects.

 

“It’s different. I felt like I couldn’t get out of fourth gear, particularly with accelerations, decelerations, and more collisions.

 

“That’s just the nature of being in the midfield. I still love playing 15 [fullback], and I love playing 12 [second five-eighths]. I just enjoy an opportunity to play for the All Blacks.”

 

Barrett was able to give something back by causing his markers to feel his strength with some charging runs at their line.

 

“Rugby hasn’t changed, and if you can get some gain-line off set-piece and nullify it on the other side of the ball, you go a long way toward winning a match.

 

“They’ve got some outstanding carriers, Valentini, Pete Samu and some good outside backs and midfield players with some feet.”

 

He said he prepared for the traffic that came to his area and concentrated on that in his preparation.

“They have some big ball carriers particularly off set-piece and if they can get some ascendancy and gain-line it bleeds out into the rest of their game so I knew that if we knocked it on the head there that we could bring their game to a bit of a halt so it was a big mover there tonight.”

 

“If we could stop them at the gain-line it helps the rest of our boys. Our forwards one to eight were outstanding tonight and it makes the backs jobs a lot easier.”

 

The All Blacks’ Championship-winning effort was driven by a desire to show their worth to home fans and the closeness of their first Test with Australia.

 

“We weren’t too proud of our last quarter last week, and it could have gone in a different direction, so we knew, coming back to New Zealand, and Eden Park, it’s a place where we hold a high account, and we wanted to put on a performance that our fans and New Zealand are proud of.

 

“Consistency is important, it’s what we strive for every day as All Blacks. The last few months haven’t been up to standard but I think we’re heading in the right direction now.”

 

The scrum and maul had allowed the All Blacks to piggyback their way up the field and then kick to gain 50 metres went a long way toward winning Test matches.

 

Barrett said his employing the spiral punt was something he had been working on, especially with the Adidas balls used in New Zealand. David Hill and Ian Foster had been encouraging him to use the kick, and he had been practising it a lot.

 

“If I have got time on the ball I feel like I can peel off an extra 10-15 metres so I was lucky to get a couple away.”

 

Content & Images from – New Zealand Rugby


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6 Nations

Emerging Ireland Matches To Be Streamed on IrishRugby.ie

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All three Emerging Ireland games in the Toyota Challenge will be streamed live on Irishrugby.ie.

The squad arrive in Bloemfontein today (Tuesday) and will train in Greys College tomorrow (Wednesday) ahead of their opening fixture against the Griquas on Friday 30th September.

Related News

The game against the Griquas kicks off at 12.45 Irish time and will be available to view live on Irishrugby.ie.  The match day 23 to face the Griquas will be named on Thursday.

Emerging Ireland play the Pumas on Wednesday 5th October (KO 4.00pm) and the Cheetahs on Sunday 9th October (2.00pm)

Emerging Ireland Squad: Meet the Players – click here

Emerging Ireland Toyota Challenge Fixtures 2022

Windhoek Draught Griquas vs Emerging Ireland
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Friday 30th September 2022, KO 12:45 (Irish time)

Airlink Pumas vs Emerging Ireland
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Wednesday 5th October 2022, KO 16:00 (Irish time)

Toyota Cheetahs vs Emerging Ireland
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Sunday 9th October 2022, KO 14:00 (Irish time)

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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