Rassie Erasmus chats with Siya Kolisi. (Photo by Steve Haag/PA Images via Getty Images)
- Springbok captain Siya Kolisi insists Rassie Erasmus’s off-field saga will not deter their preparations for Saturday’s Test against England at Twickenham.
- Erasmus has received another two-match ban from World Rugby following his criticism of refereeing during the Springboks’ end-of-year tour.
- Kolisi hopes the issue will be resolved soon, as he admits it’s “not good for rugby”.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi insists the Springboks do not see it as “them against the world” ahead of their final year-end test against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
England play the Springboks in London on Saturday, with Eddie Jones renewing his rivalry with the South African team that toppled his charges in the 2019 World Cup final.
Rugby director Rassie Erasmus has been handed a two-game ban by World Rugby following his criticism of refereeing decisions during the ongoing European tour on Twitter.
READ | Eddie Jones draws a line in the sand on Rassie’s rampage: ‘We have to respect the refs’
Since World Rugby’s second Erasmus suspension, the World Cup-winning manager has dominated the headlines in the build-up to Saturday’s Test against England.
Kolisi stressed that the Springboks will not use the Erasmus off-field drama as an excuse or distraction, as the main focus should be rugby.
“We don’t believe the world is against us, no. We are not the only team facing challenges and sometimes every team has a different challenge,” Kolisi told reporters in London on Friday.
“Our slogan is still the main thing and that is rugby, everything else that happens in between is the exception. For us, the team is one more important thing, the Springboks.
“The people of our country expect us to deliver, no matter what we face. We cannot make excuses.”
Asked by a British journalist if Erasmus’ antics on social media were justified, Kolisi gave a diplomatic response, hoping matters would be resolved soon.
“In fact, I don’t want to talk about it, because it’s a very sensitive thing. Anything I say could be written in their own way, but we are learning as we go,” Kolisi said.
“I know both sides are happy and talking about moving on, and yes, I just hope it gets resolved in the future.”
Kolisi added that he hopes World Rugby and SA Rugby find common ground as he feels this incident has not been good for the game.
“We are all part of the rugby family and sometimes families disagree. But the most important thing is that we are all involved in rugby and hopefully we can learn from these things and move forward together.” much stronger than it was before,” Kolisi said.
“You can always take advantage of difficult periods and adversity, it’s all good because it’s all about how you see it. Hopefully something great will come out of it and it will be a better solution and move on between us and World Rugby. I hope from the bottom of my heart, something more positive comes out because it’s not good for rugby in general”.
The Boks last beat England at Twickenham in 2014 but are coming off a comprehensive 63-21 thrashing of Italy in Genoa last week.
The start of the test on Saturday is at 19:30 (SA time).
15 Freddie Steward, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jack Nowell
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Canan Moodie