British & Irish Lions

Bok skipper Kolisi excited to see newbies against Georgia: 'It feels like it's a first game for all of us'

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Siya Kolisi (L) and Aphelele Fassi (R). (Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)
Siya Kolisi (L) and Aphelele Fassi (R). (Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)
  • Springbok captain Siya Kolisi cannot wait to run out alongside the new faces in the team when they face Georgia at Loftus on Friday.
  • Aphelele Fassi, Rosko Specman and Jasper Wiese make their Bok debuts, while Ox Nche plays only his second Test.
  • "It feels like it's a first game for all of us because it's been such a long time," said Kolisi.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi cannot wait to run out alongside the new faces in the team when they face Georgia at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

It's been almost two years, of course, since he's been able to lead his charges out the tunnel and go into battle.

A few fresh faces will grace the Springbok jersey come 19:00 kick-off, such as Aphelele Fassi, Rosko Specman and Jasper Wiese.

READ | Skipper Kolisi takes next step in Springbok journey: 'I've always lived with doubters'

The skipper took the pressure off the trio by saying that if their team-mates did their jobs precisely, the newcomers could display what they're known for.

"The guys that are getting their first game, hopefully, they get the confidence to be able to do what they're known for," said Kolisi.

"Our whole theme is to let the main things stay the main things. But you also need to know your job and do your job.

"I try to do my part within the team environment and to do my best. I know that we're allowed to do what we were picked for, the 'circus act', the thing you're good at.

"If it's running and fending off or, like Aphelele Fassi and Rosko Specman, it's using your footwork [you're expected to do it]. And we expect Jasper Wiese also to express himself, get the ball in his hands and hopefully run over people."

To hammer the point home, Kolisi referenced the breakdown work lock RG Snyman did in the build-up to the first try against England at the Rugby World Cup final in Japan, scored by winger Makazole Mapimpi.

"Nothing beats the unseen work, the warrior work because that allows you or your team-mates to do what they love," Kolisi said.

"Coach (Mzwandile) Stick showed us a clip where, before Mapimpi scored his try, three guys tried to get RG Snyman off the ball in a ruck, and he stopped them, and that meant Lukhanyo (Am) didn't have to clean that ruck.

"Mapimpi and Am were then free to create the try out wide. Those are the things you don't get to see, but the coaches and team-mates see them."

Sharks loosehead prop Ox Nche, who has a sole international cap, also feels like one of the newbies in the line-up, although he played against Wales in Washington in 2018.

Nche has been one of the most explosive front-row forwards since emerging as Cheetahs prop before moving to Durban, where he's elevated his game.

He faces a staunch Georgian test, a team known for its scrummaging prowess.

"I'm very excited for Ox," Kolisi added.

"We are all keen to get on the park. It feels like it's a first game for all of us because it's been such a long time.

"We all know what Ox can do, and I think this a great opportunity for him to do it at this level. It's the perfect game, actually.

"If I were a coach, I'd look for a prop that can scrum, and this is the perfect game.

"He's got all of us behind him. We believe in an eight-man scrum; it's not just about the front row at the scrum.

"He's got Bongi (Mbonambi) next to him, who is very experienced and Trevor (Nyakane)."

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

Georgia

15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Demur Tapladze, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhaidze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Ilia Spanderashvili, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Gigauri Davit, 3 Giorgi Melikidze, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Guram Gogichashvili 

Substitutes16 Giorgi Chkoidze, 17 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 18 Luka Japaridze, 19 Nodar Cheishvili, 20 Giorgi Javakhia, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Giorgi Babunashvili, 23 Irakli Tskhadadze

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