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RWC 2023 | RSA team announcement (v NZL): head coach Nienaber, captain Kolisi

Comments from South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi after the announcement of their team to play New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup 2023 final on Saturday, 28 October at Stade de France.

Jacques Nienaber, head coach

On being able to focus on the final after World rugby concluded their investigation into allegations against Mbongeni Mbonambi:

“We are fortunate in terms of support of a legal team and everybody who worked behind the scenes. We were shielded from it.

“We were in our bubble. For us we focused on rugby and that was taken care of in the background.”

On whether he remembers the 1995 RWC final against New Zealand:

“I remember it very well. I remember after the victory we were all in the streets. I was at uni then. I watched it about a year ago. It’s amazing how the game has changed. 

“The game has really changed a lot. I think the ball in play was under 24 minutes. It was set-piece after set-piece. The game is a far better product now than it was then."

On their seven-one split on the bench:

“It could have been six-two, five-three. It is about the 23. You select a team that you think will get you the result. 

“It is not about individual selection. It is for South Africa. The players take it like that. It is not about a person or ego.”

Siya Kolisi, captain and flanker

On the prospect of playing the RWC final against New Zealand: 

"We actually spoke about it yesterday. It's huge. We've prepared as hard as we can. We know what to expect. I don't think as a player it will ever get any bigger. 

"They turned it around quietly and now they are here. We had to find our way too. 

"I don't think it will ever be bigger than this, I think it will be the biggest game of my life." 

On his support for England's Tom Curry: 

"I have spoken to him, I sent him a message. He is someone I respect. 

"We can take it as players, when it comes to you it's fine, but when families are involved it's different. 

"I have let him know we are supporting him, we are thinking of him."

On being taken off early in matches:

"Things happen. I get taken off on the 40th [minute]. Of course I would love to play more but I know at that time I can't give any more. 

"It's not about me. Those decisions get made and you find, am I going to sulk for me or am I going to get on? 

"When they pick the team they don't just announce it, they explain it.  Everybody has a role to play. That's just how we see it as a team, it's far bigger than us."

Rugby, RWC 2023

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