VIDEO: Siya opens up about 'ingenious innovators' that drive Bok success
South Africa’s innovative tactics – like the six-two split and now a seven-one split on the replacement bench – have stirred up divided opinions.
It often elicits sharp criticism from opposing camps, with some ‘pundits’ even suggesting “rule changes” should be made to curb the Springbok strategies.
The seven-one split this week caused an uproar in the United Kingdom, with a media meltdown of note and claims of it being ‘against the spirit of the game’.
One person who sees it for what it is, ingenious ideas by two creative people, is Bok captain Siya Kolisi.
Having been coached by the duo at various teams since his junior days, Kolisi has first-hand knowledge of the massive impact they have on teams.
“The amount of work they put in – along with the other coaching staff – is ridiculous,” Kolisi told a media briefing in the build-up to the crunch Pool B World Cup clash with Ireland in Paris on Saturday.
The skipper said the sheer amount of information they provide the players is staggering.
“If we play on a Saturday, by Sunday we have information [about the next game],” the captain said.
“When I see them at seven o’clock [07.00] in the mornings, they are always in meetings.
“When we got here [the Paris training base] on our day off [this past Monday], they were in meetings for I don’t know how long.”
He added that the information provided to the players is “proper” information, not too much information, exactly what you need to know.
(WATCH as Springbok captain Siya Kolisi speaks about the importance of the ‘innovative’ approach by coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus…)
“It’s crazy, because when we played Scotland, I was playing in that game and I had watched someone’s profile.
“At that moment, when the guy was coming for me, I knew I knew exactly how he was going to come and tackle me.
“Those kinds of things help a lot.”
He said it was Nienaber who started that process and along with Erasmus they drive the processes.
Kolisi added that Erasmus is always thinking of innovative ways of moving the team forward.
“He [Erasmus] keeps reminding us of what we do and who we do it for.
“To have somebody that’s also played at this [Test] level that sits there with those ideas.
“He thinks of where the game is going right now, but he also thinks of some of the mistakes he made when he played and he’s not scared to share that.
“He is always available to speak to you if you feel like your form is dropping and stuff.
“He speaks to you and tells you: ‘Listen, this takes time, as long as you stay fit and you put yourself back in the battle.’
“He knows us, like he knows me, as a person. He knows me, my struggles, where I come from and he uses that.”
Kolisi said Erasmus uses all those subtle methods to motivate the players to perform to the best of their abilities.
“When things get tough, he [Erasmus] always reminds us what kind of people we are, where we come from – South Africa.
“We don’t take it lightly. You know, you go through struggles in life and people are going through struggles, but if you don’t use it for your good, it’s going to be a waste.
“He finds a way to get you to use it, while you play, to motivate other people who are in the same position that you came from while you’re playing.”