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Siya Kolisi: Every game is a knockout game for us

The Springboks must win their showdown in Shizuoka to keep alive their hopes of reaching the competition’s playoffs.

Springbok flanker Siya Kolisi evades a tackle from Argentina wing Sebastian Cancelliere (R) during their 2019 Rugby Union World Cup warm-up match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, on August 17, 2019. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said the team had been incredibly focused ahead of Friday’s Rugby World Cup Pool B clash against Italy.

The Springboks must win their showdown in Shizuoka to keep alive their hopes of reaching the competition’s playoffs.

“Every game is a knockout game for us now. If we slip up, we’re out of the competition, so we’ve been incredibly focused. In a way, we’re fortunate that we get to play knockouts earlier than normal – that’s how we see this game. I know they have also prepared specially for this game – it’s one of those games you want to be playing in as a player," said Kolisi.

“As a team, we have prepared as well as we could; we have trained well and we’re confident in our plan. It was one of those games where they had two opportunities and they took them and we didn’t take ours. We created quite a lot but we couldn’t take them, so we don’t need to change a lot."

Kolisi said the key for the team would be to raise the level of their performance from the 23-13 New Zealand defeat in the opening round.

“It wasn’t a great performance but we can’t smash ourselves over that now. We’ve got to be right for Italy. They’re a great side and they’ve beaten us in the past. Their pack is very strong and that’s why we’ve got another near whole pack on the bench," he said.

“It’s quite clear what the game plan is and the players know what we need to do – it has been fully coached into us. I don’t need to say anything. We know as players that we’ve all been working to get to the World Cup and we want to get into the playoffs."

South Africa complete their Pool B programme against Canada in Kobe on Tuesday.

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