Springbok captain Siya Kolisi announced early on Monday morning that they knew it would require something extraordinary to defeat France in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Sunday. Both Kolisi and Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber praised the team’s character, which enabled them to secure a victory and advance to the semi-finals. Siya Kolisi: We knew it would take something special to beat France
Springboks’ Victory Over France in Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final
The Springboks triumphed over France 29-28 in a thrilling match in Paris. They will now face England in the semi-finals on Saturday, while Argentina and New Zealand will compete in the first semi-final on Friday.
“We worked together as a team and we talked a lot about never giving up. We knew it would take something special and we did it today,” said Siya Kolisi. “France asked a lot of questions of us, but the character we showed stood out. We had a clear plan on what we needed to do, especially at the breakdown, and we had to fight for one another, especially in the last eight minutes of the yellow card. I’m proud of the guys and the discipline they showed.”
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Acknowledging the Opposition
Nienaber acknowledged the strength of the French team: “We knew how tough it would be to come to France and face the French. They’ve been playing well and were consistent in their performances. They’ve also been building well as a team, so we knew it was going to be a proper Test match and it was always going to be tight. Many of the games (in the tournament) have been won and lost in the last eight minutes.”
Kolisi echoed Nienaber’s sentiments, adding, “To latch onto what Jacques said, their team has been building for four years and we knew it would take everything (to win). For their captain to come back from an injury and play the way he did was good.”
The Atmosphere at the Stadium
“We knew how loud and intense it would be at the stadium, but the French people can be proud of their team. It was a tough game, and we knew it would take something special,” Kolisi added.
While Nienaber expressed his excitement about the victory, he also emphasized that there is still work to be done if they want to defend their title. “There were good things and other things we didn’t do so well,” said Nienaber, “but there was the pressure of a knock-out game, and we know there is a lot we need to work on going forward.”
The Springboks will move hotels in Paris on Monday and will have a day off for rest and recovery before returning to training on Tuesday for the semi-final.