"The Irish people should be proud" - Siya Kolisi puts rivalries aside to pay classy tribute
"Ireland are an amazing team."
The Autumn Nations Series might not be the same hill of beans as a World Cup, but Siya Kolisi and his South Africa side fought their rear ends off to try claim it.
The Springboks came into this evening's game against an Ireland side that are ranked number one in the world, and who had accounted for Wales, Scotland, England, Italy and New Zealand (twice) in the past nine months. Accordingly, Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber stacked their XV with proven stars, with the likes of Willie Le Roux, Franco Mostert and Faf de Flerk to come off the bench.
Ireland were given an almighty rattle by the reigning world champions, but a two-try burst in the space of five minutes, early in the second half, effectively won them a close-fought battle.
Following the game, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was nothing if not gracious. He told Virgin Media:
"We always knew that it would be tough, and that we'd get minimal opportunities. When we did create opportunities, we didn't take them and when you play against a world-class team like this... one or two sniffs and they score two tries.
"But congratulations to them, they did well. They stopped our maul, they stopped our scrumming and they came out firing today, as we thought they would."
"Ireland are an amazing team," he added. "The Irish people should really be proud of their team, and keep on supporting and celebrating them."
"Ireland are an amazing team. The Irish people should really be proud of their team."
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi speaking to Tommy Martin post-match at the Aviva.#IREvSA | #ANS pic.twitter.com/y1fF0r8hYH
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) November 5, 2022
Siya Kolisi did lament the missed kicks on goal, with seven points being left out there due to inaccuracy off the tee, but he acknowledged that Ireland were clinical, and that was the winning of the game.
Up next for Ireland is Fiji, next Saturday afternoon, while South Africa are away to France, who pipped Australia 30-29 in another nerve-jangler.
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