Kolisi explained that it was the inspiration from the people back home in South Africa that drove the team to fight until the final whistle.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said that the team was playing for a nation and all South Africans back home who aren’t able to get to France, after their thrilling 29-28 win over the hosts in their World Cup quarter-final clash at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Sunday night.
The Boks had to battle back from behind a number of times throughout the match before they took a 66th minute lead and stayed ahead during an extremely tense finish to the match.
Kolisi explained that it was the inspiration from the people back home (in South Africa) that drove the team to fight until the final whistle, which was also shown by himself and the other subbed players who were extremely animated on the side of the field until the final whistle.
“Most importantly the people back at home … honestly the support that we have received from them has been amazing. They can’t afford to be here, but the videos, the schools singing for us, the people and our families who are here right now,” said Kolisi about the support for the team.
“That’s who we play for. We play for a nation. It’s not just about us on this field anymore. It’s about the people back home. That’s what is driving us. Win or lose from here they will see this kind of fight they saw from us today.
Speaking about the excitement on the side of the field Kolisi said: “Obviously my job on the field was done. So all I could do was bring energy. With the amount of French people that were in this stadium the boys needed all the support they could get. So we tried to stay as positive as we could to keep them going.
“That was the most important thing. So although our job was done out there (on the field) it wasn’t over until the whistle went.”
“We really wanted this. I must give credit to the guys who came off the bench, they made a big difference. Also the guys who didn’t play as well, the pictures they showed us to be prepared and ready for this game were great.”
Kolisi also credited the performance of the hosts France, who pushed them massively. On a different day they might have been able to sneak it at the end, while the Bok skipper also praised the French fans for their support.
“It was a hard game. We knew how tough it was going to be with the French team at home, and honestly I just want to say well done to them for what they’ve achieved and how hard they have worked,” said Kolisi.
“Also to the supporters and the people of France, it has been an amazing tournament and they can be proud of this team. To Antoine (Dupont) and his boys, hard luck for the game, but they can be proud of what they’ve done.”
Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi had a massive match, with him busy across the park while finding his jumpers and making plenty of tackles over the game, which saw him named man-of-the-match.
“I have to give credit to the whole team. It wasn’t a one man effort, it was truly a team effort. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, playing the host team in their backyard in front of a sold out crowd,” said Mbonambi.
“We just focused on what we had to do and stayed on task. Credit to the officials, the refs didn’t allow the crowd to influence them. The team also managed the crowd and game very well and it was a great game of rugby.
“We also have to give credit to coach Jacques Nienaber for managing us well in the week. We have still got two games to go, so this was nothing.”