Springboks

Soul-warming Siya Kolisi brings light to load shedding fears: 'We don't make the lights come on'

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Siya Kolisi.
Siya Kolisi.
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  • Springbok captain Siya Kolisi refused to be put down by Eskom's load shedding that'll affect the viewing of the Bok Test against Wales on Saturday.
  • Load shedding has vacillated between Stages 2, 4 and 6, as the infrastructure comes under severe pressure.
  • Kolisi says Wales is a team that's accustomed to hardship and won't be easy to put away at Loftus Versfeld.

Eskom's load shedding may have put an extra layer of ice on a bone-chillingly cold winter that's simmering with socio-economic discontent, but it can't put a good man like Springbok captain Siya Kolisi down.

Ahead of Saturday's first Test against Wales at Loftus Versfeld, Kolisi, basking in the weak winter sun at their team hotel, said they may not be able to make the lights come on, but their's is to warm the souls of South Africans through good results.

Whether South Africans can watch the game on TV or tune on the radio will depend on the load shedding stages.

READ | Eskom got you Bokked down for Springbok Test? Here are tips to mitigate it

Kolisi, a man who is in touch with his social side, and has a keener sense of understanding of the role of his leadership and the soul-warming responsibilities of the Springboks, said the hardships the country was going through reminded him of his first Springbok hero - the late Solly Tyibilika.

Tyibilika, who was capped eight times by the Boks and was the first black African Springbok to score a Test try, was gunned down in Cape Town in 2011.

"We don't make the lights come on," Kolisi happily chirped at his pre-match press conference at Monte Casino on Friday.

"My hero was Solly Tyibilika and I stayed three houses away from his school, and I'd stand on the roof of my house to watch when he was playing.

"We'd often fight over who could carry his bag and to see him make it, especially with the fact he didn't have the scholarship shortcut.

"He made it from his humble surroundings and so did coach Stick, and they have inspired me and made me feel better," Kolisi says.

"When the Springboks played, they made us feel better and as if everything was okay at that moment. Your problems don't go away.

"However, people smile, and they have something to talk about when the Springboks do well. We think about it each time we put on the jersey."

Teams

South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Willie le Roux

Wales

15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar (captain), 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Gareth Thomas 

Substitutes: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Owen Watkin

Kolisi will be playing his sixth Test against Wales since his 2013 debut against Scotland in Mbombela, but has yet to play them on home soil.

He's been on the winning side three times, but the Welsh's inability to go away is something that's stayed with him.

The winning margins in Wales' Tests Kolisi has featured in are nine, three and five points respectively, a reminder that Wales have stayed in the game with the Boks consistently in the past eight years.

"They're tough people who have also been through hardships. You have to listen to their stories," Kolisi says.

"When you look at a guy like Liam Williams. He's a nice guy, but a hard guy to bring down and on the field. He'll go toe-to-toe with you.

"We know they're not going to be scared and we do respect them a lot, which is why we prepared as hard as we can for this game.

"We have to make sure that we don't just rock up at the game, but do so with the right attitude."

Play is at 17:05.

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