“We Will Have To Be At Our Best” – Siya Kolisi

Photo Credit - Gallo Images

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said he and his charges have learned from their previous encounters against Wales in Cardiff and will have to be at their best when the sides line up in their opening match of the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Boks last defeated Wales on their home patch in 2013 - a track record the South Africans are determined to change on Saturday - but Kolisi and Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said nothing but their best will be good enough if they want to emerge victorious.

The last time the teams met was in the Rugby World Cup semi-final in 2019 and the match proved to be a hard grind with the Boks winning 19-16, and Kolisi expected an equally testing match this time around.

"Wales are a hard and strong team and they'll come at us for the full 80 minutes," said Kolisi.

"We have to be in the match until the very end and the bench will play an important role. They play a similar style of rugby to us, so physically we have be up for the challenge. We cannot afford to have soft moments."

Kolisi admitted that the absence of regular Welsh captain and stalwart Alun Wyn Jones due to a shoulder injury was a big blow to the side, but he had no doubt that they would fair well despite this.

"Alun Wyn Jones is an experienced player and he has achieved so much, and it is big to lose a player of his calibre, but they have other players who can step up and make sure the team does what they need to do," said Kolisi.

Looking back at their last two matches against Wales in Cardiff, in 2018 (20-11) and 2017 (24-22) , Kolisi said: "In those matches they controlled the game, used their opportunities and were physical for the full 80 minutes. 

"There were also times when they outmuscled us and the bounce of the ball went their way too. Over and above this they have a passionate home crowd that adds a good atmosphere in the stadium."

Stick echoed Kolisi's sentiments and said: "We have not beaten Wales here in several years, so it is going to be tough outing, and we have to step up. 

"They are a team that don't go away. In the Rugby World Cup we beat them in the last two minutes of the game, so we have to be at our best when it comes to the physical side of the game.

"They won't change much, but if they want to play a running game, they can do so. They have top quality players too and the conditions here are different so that is something we have to adapt to as well. 

"But in the end it will come down to using our opportunities well. We have prepared well and we need to go out there and give it our best."