BLOEMFONTEIN (Reuters) - South Africa captain Siya Kolisi expects an improved performance from his side in the second test against England in Bloemfontein on Saturday and urged his teammates to keep their intensity high from the first minute.
The Springboks trailed England 24-3 after a bewildering opening 17 minutes in the first test at Ellis Park as the tourists cut through their defence at will.
But they rallied to secure a narrow 42-39 victory and Kolisi, the first black captain of the Boks, expects his team to be far more polished from the first minute this weekend.
“It’s about intensity and work rate, and it’s about maintaining that for 80 minutes,” Kolisi told reporters on Friday.
“We have had another week together as a team and the guys who played against Wales (in Washington on June 2) are now over the travel.
“We want to start off on a high and keep up the intensity. There can be no excuses, that is our team motto.”
Kolisi says the Bok bench will be crucial in making sure they can keep that intensity.
“When the bench comes on, we want to see that we keep the tempo up, and I know we that there are players capable of that,” he said.
England have made two changes to their starting side, bringing in lock Joe Launchbury and New Zealand-born flank Brad Shields, both of who should provide more muscle in the pack.
“We know they have a couple of new players who will want to prove themselves. It will really come down to who wants it the most and who makes the least mistakes,” Kolisi said.
“I know him (Shields) from Super Rugby, he is very good in the outside channel and he can also work towards the ball, stealing, which is something we wanted to work on from last week, securing our own ball.
“He is going to want to prove himself in his first start to make sure he stays there, but we will just have to control what we can and make sure we are always alert in what we want to do.”
The Boks have included Kolisi’s Stormers teammate Pieter-Steph du Toit on the flank, bringing both muscle and an extra line-out option.
“He is very calm, he doesn’t panic and with the line-outs he presents another option,” Kolisi said.
“We know what he has been doing with his strong ball carries and we will be looking for that from him to build momentum.”
The third and final test will be played in Cape Town on June 23.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Alison Williams