Siya Kolisi and Handre Pollard say that the Springboks won’t over-complicate their mental or physical approach in the quarter-final against Japan on Sunday. JON CARDINELLI in Tokyo reports.
Kolisi and the Bok kickers attended a short training session at the Tokyo Stadium on Friday evening. Pollard, Damian Willemse, Willie le Roux and the three scrumhalves in the squad were put through a series of tactical- and goal-kicking drills as a gentle rain fell.
At the press conference after the session, Kolisi and Pollard were asked a number of questions relating to the team’s preparation ahead of the playoff against Japan. Their responses spoke volumes for the team’s game plan and mindset.
‘We’ve taken some important lessons from the past matches [against Japan in Brighton and more recently in Saitama] onboard,’ said Pollard. ‘We’re mindful of what worked and what didn’t in the World Cup playoffs against Wales and New Zealand in 2015.
‘This will be a brand new game, though, and we mustn’t lose sight of what’s important. All we need to do is win by one point.
‘Drop goals could be important,’ he admitted, after the question was asked. ‘If the situation arises then we will have to make the chance count.
‘That’s our mindset going into this game. Whether there is an opportunity to score three, five or seven points, we must take it.’
Kolisi told SARugbymag.co.za that the coaches and senior players have kept things simple in terms of their mental preparation for the do-or-die game.
‘We’ve been playing knockout rugby since the loss to the All Blacks in the first game of the tournament,’ the Bok skipper said. ‘We’re already in that mental space so we won’t change much in terms of our preparation.
‘Both teams have improved since we last met. I don’t think it’s a secret – if you look at our team selections – about how we want to play.
‘We’ve just got to stick to what we know best this Sunday.’
Photo: Getty Images
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