Boks in a better place now than ahead of 2019 World Cup: Siya Kolisi

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi during a Sharks training session at Kings Park on March 29 2023.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi during a Sharks training session at Kings Park on March 29 2023.
Image: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images

With the Rugby World Cup five months away, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi believes South Africa are in a better space now than they were before they won the global showpiece in 2019 in Japan. 

The 2023 World Cup takes place in France from September 8 to October 28. The defending-champion Boks play their opening match against fifth-ranked Scotland in Marseille on September 10.  

A year before Kolisi lifted the title in Japan, South Africa had director of rugby Rassie Erasmus taking over the coaching reins from Allister Coetzee, who was sacked in February 2018.  

Since then they have had a stable build-up under head coach Jacques Nienaber, who took over from Erasmus after the 2019 World Cup and has worked closely with the director of rugby.  

“I think so, yeah,” Kolisi said on Wednesday when asked if he thinks the Boks are more advanced now than ahead of Japan. The Bok captain was speaking ahead of the Sharks' Champions Cup round of 16 clash against Irish side Munster at Durban's Kings Park on Saturday (1.30pm).

“Our coaching staff are always helpful in letting us know where we are or if we are falling behind, or where they want you to go.

“They are available at all times with feedback. They are always there to say this is not good enough or this is good enough. 

“Even though you're doing everything for your club, they still reach out to ask, 'Is this good enough?', because they are looking at international level and not club level.

“We just had a few alignment camps and what I love about those is knowing where we are now. [The coaches] have watched the progress in what we do and where we need to be. We measure ourselves against ourselves, but also against the best in the world.  

“But I think we still have a lot to do as a team. The most important thing is for us as players is to work on getting into the team because nobody is guaranteed a place.  

“We don't know what that side is going to look like. What is important now is for me not to play like I played last week. I have to be better this weekend and show I really want to get into that team.

“It’s important that when we play for our unions, we look the part and play the part.”  

The fourth-ranked Springboks defend their title from a tough pool B, where they will encounter the world’s top-ranked side Ireland, fifth-placed Scotland, Tonga and Romania.

Kolisi admitted the group will present tough and interesting clashes, but said for South Africa to win the title they will have to beat the best in the world.  

“It's always going to be a challenge. At the end of the day, you have to play the best to win the World Cup — it doesn’t matter what you do. I think it’s a positive if you can come out of a group [like that] and also through the quarterfinals.”  

Before the World Cup, the Springboks will be involved in the Rugby Championship from July 8, where they will be tested by New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.  

They meet Wales, the All Blacks and Argentina in their World Cup warm-ups in August.  

This weekend Kolisi leads the Sharks’ bid to book a place in the Champions Cup quarterfinals. The Sharks will need to improve their performance after a shockingly poor 32-20 away defeat to Llanelli Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.