Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said the Boks would hold nothing back in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against New Zealand at a sold-out Twickenham on Friday evening, in what they described as the perfect preparation for the international spectacle in France.
Kolisi reiterated that while it may be their last warm-up game, the Boks would give everything as they looked to finetune their game before the World Cup.
“The fact that the All Blacks selected a full-strength side for the match shows their intent,” said Kolisi.
“This is not a friendly. In fact, we’ve never had a friendly against them. It’s going to a big physical battle, and we are excited about it.”
The 2019 Rugby RWC-winning skipper added: “We will not hold back at all. There are 80 000 people coming to the match and we owe it to them to give our all. There are also not many opportunities such as this to face the All Blacks in the northern hemisphere, so it’s going to be a special game.
“It’s also our last match before the Rugby World Cup, so we want to make the most of the occasion. Hopefully it will be an ugly, tough game, but beautiful at the same time.”
Stick expected an equally epic challenge and said: “Playing against the All Blacks is always tough. So, this will be a good measure for the guys to test themselves before the World Cup.”
The Bok assistant coach was confident about Canan Moodie’s positional switch from wing to centre, where he will join forces with Andre Esterhuizen.
“We’ve seen Canan’s potential in the last two seasons and what he can do at wing,” he said.
“If one looks at the way we defend, it’s one of the toughest positions to play, and he’s shown his potential to make big reads there, so hopefully by bringing him closer in this week, he’ll be even better.
“I believe he has the potential to become a great outside centre.”
On a personal note, Kolisi was pleased with the progress he was making after a strong return last weekend from a serious knee injury, and said he was ready to step things up a gear on Friday.
“I felt good this week, and going into the match I’ll give as much as I can again, and see for how long I can go,” said Kolisi. “Everything I wondered about I experienced last week, so I am certainly feeling more confident and I’m not going to hold back.”
The Springboks’ next assignment after this Test will be to defend their RWC title in France, where they will line up against Scotland (10 September), Romania (17 September), Ireland (23 September) and Tonga (1 October) in the pool stages.
SOURCE SA RUGBY