Siya Kolisi will be one of only two men retained from the Springbok team that started the 49-3 triumph over Italy when their Pool B finale against Canada kicks off.
Kolisi and Damian de Allende held onto their spots. Kolisi in order to get more minutes under his belt, while coach Rassie Erasmus wants another look at de Allende playing in the outside centre role.
Kolisi strives for form
The skipper is relishing being back to full fitness and is now keen to recover his best form ahead of the knockout stage.
“Physically I feel good,” he said on the eve of the Springboks final Pool B match against Canada in the port city of Kobe.
“My body feels good and I’m really glad to get more minutes. I’ve been injured for quite a bit but the form is getting better and better and 100 percent I prefer to play – it just feels better.
“Sometimes a break is good but at my union we never come off a break very well so I just prefer playing the whole time.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself and I expect a lot of myself and I’m always looking for work on the field – to do a bit more – because the guys are doing well and it’s contagious. My fitness levels have got back up so hopefully I can do better again tomorrow.”
Louw looking forward to a new partnership
Kolisi will form part of a loose trio playing together for the first time, joined by Kwagga Smith and Francois Louw. All three favour the blindside flank role and should be a menace at the breakdown.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside Siya and Kwagga,” said Louw.
“I think we’re all essentially No 6s so it’s an interesting combination! These days I find myself playing at No 8 quite a lot which is a role I also really enjoy.
“They both bring a dynamic game; I’ve played a lot of rugby with Siya over my career so I know what he is all about; not so much with Kwagga, but I’m very pleased for him that he has made the step up into the Springbok side and established himself.
“He is a tough player, a Springbok Sevens player so he brings a different dynamic to the back row. He is good in the loose play but also likes to get stuck into the tight stuff.
“I’m sure we’ll complement each other where we can and make up for others’ weaknesses where they are and hopefully put together a good performance.”
Kolisi reflects on the captaincy
Kolisi reflected on the privilege of being the Springbok skipper ahead of the clash with Canada.
“I’m really honoured and it’s a huge privilege for me to be Springbok captain,” he said, “but it has been all work so far and I’ve not had a moment to sit and think about it too much.
“But I know what it means to me and my family and I’m really proud but I’m also really grateful to the guys that I have around me to help me out.
“Captaincy for me is not specifically an individual’s job – if you’ve got great leaders around you, why not use them? I know that there’s going to be tough calls – and I will make them – but I always get help if I need help.
“That’s the way I do things because I don’t believe I know everything. After the tournament is done I’ll probably have a sit and think about it, but for now there’s a job to do and that’s what I’m focusing on.”
The Springboks kick off against Canada at 12:15 SAST, the match will be broadcast on SuperSport (channel 201) and on SABC radio stations.