Bok captain Kolisi braced himself for a major Australian offensive

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi says Australia made their intentions clear with a 6-2 split between strikers and defenders on the bench in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash between the sides in Adelaide.

It’s ironic that the Wallabies have transitioned to a forward-thinking game plan among substitutes, just as the Springbok, often criticized for focusing too much on deploying their powerful pack, have moved away from it by beating their bench added an extra back.

“A lot of people have had a lot to say about us doing it, but Australia has set its intentions in terms of what they want to do,” Kolisi told reporters on Friday.

“It’s going to be a tough set piece. It (the 6-2 split) is working but we’re trying something new this week.”

Kolisi eagerly awaits the clash with the Wallabies’ loose trio, led by their dynamic number eight Rob Valetini, as he meets for the second time since they conquered the rugby world, with flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen in the back Series of Bok Reunited Cup 2019.

“We know each other really well and it’s all about the fights. We want to be involved in as many as possible. Hopefully we can influence the game this weekend.”

But the Boks are also expected to run the ball more and in that plan center Lukhanyo Am, who has been in incredible form so far in 2022, will play a prominent role.

If he finds the time and space to work his magic, the Boks will be in business.

“He’s been great for us for a very long time,” says Kolisi. “It took a while for people to see that. He always wants to learn, talk to other players and hear opinions.

“The best thing about Lukhanyo is that he plays rugby the same way he did (early in his career) for Border. He has the same love for the game as he did as a kid.

“We have to give him those opportunities on the field as a team.”

The Boks haven’t won in Australia since 2013, but Kolisi says they’re confident of changing that statistic on Saturday.

“Regardless of past results, we always have our back. We’ve never gone into a game and said, ‘Okay, we’re going to lose this one’. Never. I still have our back.”