Springboks

Kolisi admits Wales got under Boks' skin, Biggar asks: 'Did people expect us to roll out red carpet?'

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Dan Biggar. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Dan Biggar. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • Springbok captain Siya Kolisi admitted Wales, who they narrowly beat at Loftus, got under their skin, which threw their focus from their core strengths.
  • Opposing players were at each other's throats but Wales captain Dan Biggar asked if people expected the visitors to "just to roll the red carpet out for the Boks?"
  • Kolisi, who is usually a calming influence, also traded words with his opponents during the game.

Tempers threatened to boil over during the first Test between the Springboks and Wales at Loftus on Saturday.

The hosts shaded a tough contest that they might have lost or even drawn were it not for Damian Willemse's last-gasp winning penalty kick.

The bulk of the 32-29 contest was characterised by Welsh ill-discipline – they received four yellow cards in the game – and a lot of argy-bargy.

READ | Willemse sparks second-half magic to save Boks from embarrassing first home defeat against Wales

Players were at each other's throats in a manner not too dissimilar to how the British & Irish Lions series played out here in SA last year.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi admitted that the visitors, who held an 18-3 lead at the break, got under their skin, which threw their focus from their core strengths, like the maul, which couldn't kick start.

Kolisi, who is usually a calming influence, also traded words with his opponents during the game.

"Those things happen in a game. They got under our skin," said Kolisi.

"Things weren't going our way in the first half. We couldn't get the maul going and we did a couple of things out of character.

"They did what they wanted to do in the first half. Everything was going according to their terms. But there wasn't panic.

"We didn't feel at any stage that there was no way we're going to come back into the game. We know what we're capable of and we stuck to it. We went maul after maul until [we scored]."

Wales captain Dan Biggar, who got sin-binned in the first half, said it was part of their plan to disrupt the Springboks psychologically.

Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli had to intervene numerous times to stop the players from potentially crossing the line.

Biggar also got into it a couple of times with Bok star Cheslin Kolbe, which led to the Loftus crowd chanting their diminutive hero's name after he stood up for himself.

"I don't know what the referee expected us to do … just come here and lie down and let South African their own way?" Biggar asked rhetorically.

"We wanted to get in their faces, not take a backward step and that's part of the game. If you stand off South Africa, you're going to get steamrolled pretty quickly.

"You've got to show some fight, some energy, some aggression, some competitiveness and just get into it. I didn't see any issue with it. They were just as niggly and competitive and abrasive as we were.

"But that was perfect for us. It was exactly what we wanted. There was no dirty play or anything; we were just being confrontational and that's what worked for us in the first half.

"The decisions will be analysed but I don't understand why people are bothered about it. It's a Test match, we're away from home against the world champions and I'm not quite sure what people expected from us.

"Just to roll the red carpet out for them and applaud them off the pitch?"

Biggar said he felt some of the decisions the referee awarded against them were "harsh" but stopped short of criticising the man in the middle.

"We've got to look at ourselves first. We probably gave some easy decisions in some of those penalties," the Wales skipper said.

"It's difficult to say too much when you're quite emotional. When we go back and have a look at it, we'll be better placed to make a judgement on it.

"Some of them felt a little bit harsh. Conversely, when you give a team like South Africa an in and a bit of momentum, it's very difficult to stop and it's quite easy to referee them as well." 


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