Springbok loose forward Siya Kolisi admits it would be a special moment playing his first test match at Newlands, but says he prefers to leave emotion off the pitch.
The Stormers flank is likely to be on the bench when Springbok coach Heyene Meyer names his squad for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with Australia, but could be given a run in front of an adoring Newlands faithful.
Kolisi made his debut against Scotland in June and won his sixth cap against New Zealand in the Springboks’ defeat in Auckland last time out.
His all-action style and ability to run with ball in hand have made him a firm crowd favourite and he admits his rise to fame has been life-changing.
“Sometimes I do like to go back to the township to remind myself where I come from,” Kolisi told reporters at the opening of a museum dedicated to Springbok rugby in Cape Town today.
“I am not really a man that likes to put emotion into rugby, but obviously it is going to be special for me playing in front of everyone but I will just try and keep that out my head and do the things that will help me to perform.”
Kolisi prefers to talk about his role in the team if he gets on, which is to help the side dominate at the breakdown, one of the key focus areas of the side this year.
“We are working hard on it, every week we want to improve, we know it is the most important part of the game because if we can get fast ball to our back line players we know we can do a lot of good things.”
The Springboks have won 10 of their last 12 matches at Newlands since 2001, losing only to France (2006) and New Zealand (2008). Three of those wins have come against Australia.
Kolisi acknowledged it was a favourite stadium of the team, but felt it would have no bearing on Saturday’s game.
“It’s a very good record, but the record won’t win us the game on Saturday, we still have to pitch up. We are not going to put that in our heads.”
South Africa currently trail Rugby Championship leaders New Zealand by four points with two rounds of matches still to play.
The All Blacks are in Argentina on Saturday, before a showdown with the Springboks at Ellis Park on October 5.
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