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Boks must ‘get out of blocks better’ to be Rugby World Cup contenders, says Siya


The Springboks picked up the pace in the second half of their World Cup opener to totally shut out Scotland 18-3, but captain Siya Kolisi says his team has to start better.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says his team needs to get out the blocks quicker at the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Peter Cziborra, Reuters

THE SPRINGBOKS picked up the pace in the second half of their World Cup opener to totally shut out Scotland 18-3, but captain Siya Kolisi says his team has to get better.

Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a try each, while Manie Libbok and Faf de Klerk added the extras with their boots.

Scotland had only a Finn Russell penalty to show for their efforts.

“It took us a while to get going, and we got there in the end, but we have to get out of the blocks better than that if we are to be contenders,” Kolisi said.

“We knew that Scotland were targeting us in what has been called the group of death, and we planned to shut them down at source and not let them get their game going.”

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Earlier on the weekend, the Boks’ Pool B rivals Ireland put 80 points past Romania, the South Africans’ next opponents.

As weak as the eastern European team clearly are, Ireland are on a mission and Kolisi says the Boks have to improve.

“Our intensity against Scotland is not where we would like it to be. It has to get better,” Kolisi said.

“That is what we spoke about at half-time – we knew we had the beating of them, but we needed better composure.

“The composure came, and the pressure produced points and, all in all, it is so nice to get this difficult opener out of the way.”

Scotland went into the game with the reputation of being one of the best attacking teams in the world, but their flyhalf Russell was never allowed to unleash his backs, which included SA-born Duhan van der Merwe, who has scored 18 tries in 30 Tests.

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Van der Merwe never saw the ball and Kolisi confirmed this was no accident.

“The way we kept them out was special,” Kolisi said.

“We knew we had to keep them on the back foot, and it was very rewarding when we kept them from scoring when they had their best period with the ball, and then we went and scored.”

The game was played in searing heat in the south of France (30 degrees Celsius), and Kolisi said the planning by the management was perfect.

“In 2019, we went to Japan early to acclimatise in the heat, and it proved crucial,” Kolisi said.

“We did something similar this time by going to Corsica after the game against the All Blacks in London.

“We never went home, and we moved toward the heat and it definitely helped us. It was very hot out there.”

The teams went into the break with the Boks only 6-3 ahead after two Libbok penalties and one from Russell.

However, in the second half, the Boks’ slow poison took hold, with Du Toit and Arendse scoring tries thanks to great work by Libbok.

The latter was adjudged as the Man of the Match despite some goalkicking errors.

Libbok said this of his breathtaking creation of Arendse’s try: “Obviously I saw the space out wide and knew what I wanted to do, and managed to get it there. I am just stoked our first game went like it did.”

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