Here comes the 'dynamic' Boks
WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: South Africa may finally throw off the shackles and go from a dour, defence-orientated side to a more dynamic outfit in their final pool match.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus named a side loaded with fringe players for their encounter with Canada in Kobe on Tuesday.
The most pointed selections can be found among the loose forwards – where captain Siyamthanda Kolisi will form a new back row with Albertus Smith and Francois Louw.
Louw, the senior member of the trio, said they will add a very different dynamic to the national team’s game.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside Siya and Kwagga,” Louw, 34, said.
“I think we’re all essentially No.6s,” he said in reference to the number openside flanks wear in South Africa.
“It is an interesting combination!”
Louw, capped 72 times by the Boks, admits he features a lot more at No.8 at this late stage in his career.
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“It is a role I also really enjoy,” he said, adding: “They [Kolisi and Smith] both bring a dynamic game.
“I’ve played a lot of rugby with Siya in my career, so I know what he is all about.
“Not so much with Kwagga, but I’m very pleased for him that he has made the step up into the Springbok side and established himself.
“He is a tough player, a Springbok Sevens player – so he brings a different dynamic to the back row.
“He is good in the loose play, but also likes to get stuck into the tight stuff.
“I’m sure we’ll complement each other where we can and make up for each other’s weaknesses where they are and hopefully put together a good performance.”
Kolisi said his side will be taking a leap into the unknown when they face Canada for the first time in nearly 20 years.
A bonus-point win for the Springboks will all but assure the two-time World Cup champions of entry into the last eight.
Tuesday’s Pool B match will be just the third time the two countries have met, and the first since South Africa’s 51-18 victory over Canada in East London in 2000 – when current Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus was playing for the home side.
Kolisi will be starting his third match in four games, as he continues his return to match fitness after a knee injury.
“Physically I feel good,” he said.
“My body feels good and I’m really glad to get more minutes. I’ve been injured for quite a bit but the form is getting better and better and 100 percent I prefer to play – it just feels better.
“Sometimes a break is good but at my union [the Stormers] we never come off a break [playing] very well, so I just prefer playing the whole time.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself and I expect a lot of myself and I’m always looking for work on the field – to do a bit more – because the guys are doing well and it’s contagious.
“My fitness levels have got back up so hopefully I can do better again on Tuesday.”