Springbok captain Kolisi rues slow start in All Blacks defeat: ‘They controlled the tempo’

Siya Kolisi. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Siya Kolisi. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

  • Siya Kolisi pointed the finger at their sluggish start for the Springboks’ 35-23 defeat to the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday.
  • The Boks came back in the middle period, but the visitors took the game away, scoring four tries in all.
  • The Springboks travel to Australia for their next Rugby Championship assignment.

The Springboks blamed their slow start and tepid finish for their defeat to the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

In the week, captain Siya Kolisi spoke about starting with a high tempo and setting the pace early, but the opposite was true on game day in Johannesburg. They looked like they travelled across 13 time zones to get to Gauteng ahead of the match.

The All Blacks took a game that was deadlocked at 0-0 after the first quarter by the scruff of the neck in a 15-minute period where they raced to a 15-0 lead following Sam Cane and Samisoni Taukei’aho’s tries.

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Although the Boks came back three minutes before the break through a brilliant Lukhanyo Am try, they were always playing catch up and eventually fell well short by the end.

“They controlled the tempo at the beginning of the game and they didn’t give us an opportunity to impose our game plan onto them,” said Kolisi following the 35-23 reverse.

“They moved the ball from kick-offs, rarely kicked out and we didn’t adapt quick enough.

“That first period where they got quick points by playing the ball [got them the ascendancy].”

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Looking palpably deflated than his high in Mbombela, where they led from pole to the finish line, head coach Jacques Nienaber credited the boys for coming back and taking the lead.

However, they surrendered it near the death as David Havili and Scott Barrett put the result beyond doubt.

“Like Siya said, we didn’t control the game in the first half,” said Nienaber.

“I don’t think we were as accurate as we were last week and they kept on making offloads and took high risks and we didn’t contain that well.

“But I thought we did well to come back from 15-0 down, which is a tough feat against the All Blacks.

“At the back end of the game, they took control of the game again. We had done well to get back in control of the game but then lost it at the back end.”