The Springboks are bracing themselves for a physical battle of epic proportions when they line up against Argentina today in the opening Castle Lager Rugby Championship match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and captain Siya Kolisi said they are ready for the challenge.
Kolisi and Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick showed great respect for Los Pumas at Friday’s captains media conference, and said the Boks were looking forward to kicking off the tournament.
“It wasn’t tough for us to switch (from the Lions series to the Rugby Championship,” said Kolisi.
“We made that decision last Saturday already, and on Sunday we received the clips for this week’s game from the coaches, which they had done a while ago.
“So, we were never going to sit back and chill. Argentina are coming here flat out, and they want to prove a point.”
Kolisi added: “It’s a challenge to play against them. They have a strong pack and we’ve had a lot of big battles against them.
“They play similarly to us with their set pieces, scrummaging and mauls, so we have to turn it up when we face them.
“It will be a different challenge for us this week, but we are looking forward to it as a team.”
Speaking of the transition from winning the series against the British & Irish Lions to switching to Castle Lager Rugby Championship mode, Stick said their preparation was the same as for all other Test matches.
“We didn’t prepare differently this week to the way we prepared for the matches against the British & Irish Lions,” said Stick.
“We have processes and routines in terms of our preparation, and we follow that no matter which team we face.
Kolisi was also excited to see Joseph Dweba (hooker) make his Test debut in a front row with props Ox Nché and Wilco Louw.
“Joseph is enjoying it here and he’s excited and wants to get on the field,” said Kolisi.
“We know that together with Wilco and Ox, they will take charge and carry the team. He worked hard to be here and I’m sure he’ll make the most of the opportunity.”