Kolisi: 'We have a great coach'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks flank Siya Kolisi profusely defended under-firing Allister Coetzee's role as head coach, claiming that he is fitting of the position.
Kolisi took the captain's armband after Eben Etzebeth was forced off the field just before halftime during the 22-24 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.
Under Kolisi's guidance, the Springboks scored three tries and almost overturned a 3-21 half-time deficit for a win.
However, Leigh Halfpenny's decisive penalty 12 minutes from time fittingly concluded the Springboks 2017 - which includes two record defeats to New Zealand (57-0) and Ireland (38-3).
Thus far, during Coetzee's two-year tenure the side has won 11 out of 25 Tests and has a winning record of 44 percent.
With SA Rugby's full review pending and rumours of the coach's axings, Kolisi seemed to have pleaded Coetzee's case claiming that 2017 was a much better showing than 2016 - a clear sign of improvement for the flank.
"We have a great coach," Kolisi told reporters after the defeat in Cardiff.
"Last year was a tough year. We play in a country where rugby means a lot. From last year to this year, he [Allister Coetzee] has bitten the bullet for us.
"Every time we win it is all about the players in the articles. It’s about us and how amazing we are. As soon as something bad happens then the coach isn’t good enough to coach," Kolisi explained, adding: "From where we came from last year he has done a great job,"
"He sat us down and spoke to the players of the what we as a team working towards. I don’t think it was an easy road for him.
"I’m not making any excuses. I just think it was tough for us as players to adapt to everything.
"He stood by us and the rewards are better than last year,"
Converted tries by Scott Williams and Hadleigh Parkes (2) had seen Wales race out to a 21-3 lead.
But tries by Warrick Gelant and Handre Pollard pulled the visitors right back into the game.
A third try from Jesse Kriel saw the Springboks briefly take the lead before Halfpenny's penalty.
"We never satisfied with defeats, and the Welsh teams were just more matured than us.
"They had a flying start [going up 14-0 after just 10 minutes]. Last week Wales played a passing game against New Zealand, and against us, they employed the kicking game.
"Furthermore, losing our captain didn’t make the challenge any easier but the boys adapted. Handre Pollard took control of proceedings and Daniel Du Preez also stepped up.
"To think we fought so hard to overturn a 3-21 deficit and just one call doesn't go your way,"