Kolisi: Playing world No 1 Ireland is as big as it gets

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  • Post published:September 23, 2023

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says facing world no 1 Ireland is “as big as it gets” as the defending champions prepare for a tough battle at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.

The match will have a big impact on who makes it to the quarterfinals from Pool B, and the No. 1 spot in the world is also up for grabs.

Kolisi and the coach of the Springboks, Jacques Nienaber, were both looking forward to the match and agreed that it would be a great battle.

“This is as big as it gets,” said Kolisi.

“They are the No 1 team in the world, and we are playing them in a World Cup. They’ve won 14 games in a row, and it will take a top performance to beat them. It is going to take something special to get out of this pool.”

Kolisi added: “We took a lot from the last match we played against them. And both teams are playing well, so this is a good time to face them. We want to play nice, competitive rugby and I believe the match will be tough and played in a good spirit.”

Kolisi talked about how important the breakdowns were, but Nienaber said that it would also be important to have good discipline.

“The breakdowns are going to be big,” said Kolisi. “They have a lot of players who are effective in that department, and I think that will have a big influence on the game.”

Speaking about discipline in the match, Nienaber said: “When you have the top two teams in the world playing against one another discipline will be very important. If you concede penalties against a team like Ireland they’ll either get territory or points, so they’ll put us under pressure. We must be disciplined to get the right result.”

Nienaber put seven forwards and one back on the replacements’ bench for the game. When asked about how people reacted to the team, the Bok coach said: “Innovation in any sport will trigger a reaction.

“This is the first time it’s done in rugby and that will come with positive and negative reaction, but nothing is stopping other teams from doing it. It would be a sad day if innovation is stopped, especially when it is within the laws.”

Photo by David Winter/Shutterstock