Boks went back to ‘falling in love with the game’ after week of Rassie drama | Sport


  • Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said they were ready for the Test against Italy from every perspective after a difficult week.
  • The Boks shrugged off the suspensions of SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and Pieter-Steph du Toit to crush Italy 63-21 on Saturday.
  • The win was SA’s biggest this year as they ran in nine tries – the most they’ve scored in one game this season.

In Genoa

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said they would have rocked up for the Italy game on Saturday in the best possible mental shape even if bigger challenges confronted them in what was a difficult week.

The Boks beat Italy 63-21 to record their biggest and most convincing win of the season, but they had to do it in a week when SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus was suspended for his social media criticism of referees and Pieter-Steph du Toit was suspended following a red card offence against France the previous week.

It was the most challenging of weeks for the Boks but Kolisi, speaking after the match, said his side had been encouraged by Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber to revisit the reasons they played this game. 

MATCH REPORT | Springboks overcome horror week, run riot in Genoa to land thumping Italy win

“Even if the worst thing happened during the week, we still would have focused on the game because it was important for us to get a win,” Kolisi said.

“We prepped properly, and we enjoyed it, which is what Jacques and Rassie told us, to get to the place that made us fall in love with the game.

“We may have lost the last two games, but I really believe we’re headed in the right direction.”

Kolisi, who spoke at length about the adversity he faced in his life, along with that of the team and the country, said they needed to be at their best to beat Italy.

Despite the challenges they faced in the lead-up to the game, Kolisi said it was necessary they gave the game everything.

READ | Sublime Springbok back three, led by Arendse, has coach gushing after Italian job

The Boks went into the Italy Test on the back of two consecutive, but narrow losses in Dublin and Marseille. But they looked every bit like world champions on Saturday, especially in the second half which they won 45-8.

“It was a tough press conference because our mindset was already in the game and it was a big game for us,” Kolisi said.

“Italy is an amazing team and the way we prepared, we gave them the respect they deserved and they’re a different team from what they were a few years ago.

“We had to play to the best of our abilities. It was tight in the first half, and we had to dig deep as the boys.

READBok ratings: Liberation of the backline … at last!

“These things happen, we face adversity all the time and we come from a country where adversity stares us in the face all the time.

“We have to use those things to bring ourselves up and our focus was simply on the game.”

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