British & Irish Lions

Siya Kolisi urged by John Smit to play another 'captain's innings' in decider

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Siya Kolisi. (EJ Langner/Gallo Images)
Siya Kolisi. (EJ Langner/Gallo Images)

Former Springbok skipper John Smit will be looking to Siya Kolisi to play another "captain's innings" in the decisive third Test against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.

With the series locked at 1-1, Kolisi has the chance to emulate Smit in leading South Africa to the "double" of a World Cup triumph and a Lions series win.

Smit captained South Africa in the 2007 World Cup and followed that up with victory over the Lions two years later.

"Without a doubt they were the two biggest moments of my career," he said on SuperSport TV. "It will be the same for Siya."

But Smit acknowledged that Kolisi has the tougher task, with the current series going down to the last game whereas Smit's Springboks sealed success by winning the first two games.

Smit said Kolisi's leadership had been crucial in the Springboks' 27-9 win in the second Test last Saturday.

"You could see how upset and broken he was after the first Test, but he was incredible last week," said Smit.

"I told him it was a real captain's innings, but now he must do it again."

Smit said there was one major factor missing in the 2021 series - spectators.

Recalling the sea of red and green replica jerseys worn by supporters of the two sides in 2009, Smit said the absence of crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic had been a blow.

"Everyone, from both sides, was looking forward to thousands of people coming to South Africa, bringing the buzz around the hotels, the bars, the restaurants," said Smit.

"I think it has been replaced by the antics, the mind games and the strategy of the two coaching staffs having a go at each other.

"That's been our supplementary entertainment in terms of what we have missed out on from a normal Lions tour, with all those people, all that noise and all that tension.

"But what we do have is an unbelievably spicy third Test."

Smit said the first two Tests had been a "tug-of-war" between two astute coaching staffs and two outstanding squads of players.

Peter de Villiers, the Springbok coach during the 2009 series, also bemoaned the lack of spectators.

"It's tough for the players - and the coach too," he said. "You depend on your crowd to bring to the game the part you can't coach."

Saturday's clash at Cape Town Stadium kicks off at 18:00.

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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