Cape Town – Speaking ahead of their blockbuster Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday, Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi says they will miss SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ insights and motivation.
Erasmus has been suspended with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months and suspended from all match-day activities until 30 September 2022. This comes after he was found guilty on all six charges brought by World Rugby for his video, in which he points out what he thought Australian referee Nic Berry got wrong in the first Test between the Boks and British & Irish Lions. SA Rugby has confirmed that Erasmus will appeal the decision.
On Friday, Kolisi explained that Erasmus’ absence will certainly be felt, and made specific examples of how the World Cup-winning coach’s rugby brain has helped the team.
“It will be tough. His presence makes a huge difference to us as a group. He sees stuff that we don’t see on the field because he is someone who has played rugby at this level,” Kolisi said.
“He also motivates us and talks to us on the side of the field. When the subs are made and you might get taken off early, all you are thinking is where you went wrong. But he is always there to chat to us and let us know why you went off at that time. He will also advise us on the breakdowns and who should do what. It makes a huge difference because he knows we are competitive and want to give our best.
“I got taken off plenty of times early in the game and people would ask why the captain went off so early, but he will tell me straight ‘we felt you were tired and it’s as simple as that’. So, that makes a huge difference and we will miss him. But I know that coaching staff and coach Stick have plans around how we can work around that as a group.”
After defeating Wales in Cardiff and dealing with Scotland in Edinburgh, the Boks can make it three-out-of-three on their Outgoing Tour with a victory against the team they bashed 32-12 in the World Cup final in Yokohama.
On what they’re expecting England to bring, Kolisi said: “We know how we want to play rugby and we pride ourselves on it. We want to make sure our plan works against their plan. We want to focus on what we are going to do, and that’s it.
“They have got great fetchers and we are going to have to stop that, but we have good fetchers too. The breakdown is going to be important, the set-piece is going to be important.”
The match against England at Twickenham kicks off at 17:15 (SA time).