British & Irish Lions

Boks skipper Kolisi reveals 'similar' feeling to Rugby World Cup: 'This is our final'

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Siya Kolisi (Gallo)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo)

The Springboks go into Saturday's series decider against the British & Irish Lions in Cape Town with a "similar" feeling to what they experienced ahead of the 2019 World Cup final against England in Yokohama.

It has been 21 months since that glorious South African day, but the Boks have only played three Test matches since. 

Backing largely the same players that did the business back then, the Boks have clawed their way back into the Lions series having lost the first Test 22-17 before roaring back with a stunning second half performance that floored the tourists and secured a 27-9 win that levelled the series. 

Now, it comes down to this. 

On Saturday at 18:00 at Cape Town Stadium, these World Cup winning Springboks will seek another slice of history. 

Listening to skipper Siya Kolisi address media on Friday, it was clear that the enormity of the occasion has been acknowledged by the players.

"It is definitely similar," Kolisi said when asked to compare this moment to the Rugby World Cup final.

"But, also different because this opportunity for a whole lot of us will not come again.

"That's the mentality and that's been the message throughout this week. We're in a unique position and we're very excited for tomorrow."

Kolisi said much of the preparation this week had been mental. 

"It's definitely a final for us," he said.

"We've worked so hard to get ourselves in this position, and tomorrow we're not even thinking about anything else.

"Everyone involved - guys who are playing, guys who are not playing, they've thrown everything at this week and at the game for tomorrow.

"This is the one that counts. Everything we've done before doesn't count now. This is our final."

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Damian Willemse

British & Irish Lions

15 Liam Williams (Wales), 14 Josh Adams (Wales), 13 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 12 Bundee Aki (Ireland), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Ali Price (Scotland), 8 Jack Conan (Ireland), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Courtney Lawes (England), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Ken Owens (Wales), 1 Wyn Jones (Wales)

Substitutes: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), 17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England), 18 Kyle Sinckler (England), 19 Adam Beard (Wales), 20 Sam Simmonds (England), 21 Conor Murray (Ireland), 22 Finn Russell (Scotland), 23 Elliot Daly (England)

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