Europe will produce better Springbok players - Siya Kolisi

Europe will produce better Springbok players - Siya Kolisi

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi believes competing in Northern Hemisphere competitions will strengthen South African rugby, especially with the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Europe.

After decades of competing with Australian and New Zealand franchises in Super Rugby, the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks, and Lions are in their second United Rugby Championship season against teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Italy. 

Kolisi admits there are significant distinctions between the competitions, but believes Europe will produce far more well-rounded Boks.

"The style of rugby is completely different – when you play in Europe, it's sometimes wet and cold, so you have to adjust to the [conditions]," said Kolisi.

"You have to work on all or more aspects of your game. I felt, I think, when we played more Super Rugby, it was just mostly attack and defence, whereas here [in Europe], kicking game is a little bit more important.

"But it's also great because you have so many different teams who play differently. Some teams like to attack more, some teams are very good defensively, some have the whole shape of game.

"I think us getting to play against those different teams every single week is helping, [and] it will definitely help in the long run, especially in a World Cup year that's in Europe [because] we get to go play in Europe more often."

According to Kolisi, South Africa are far ahead in World Cup preparations for 2023 than they were this time four years ago. 

He adds that each player, including himself, as captain, has taken personal responsibility for their readiness to be selected.

"What I love about the alignment camps is knowing where we are now – obviously they watch the progress of what we do and where we need to be – and we measure ourselves against ourselves and also the best in the world," he added.

"I think we still have a lot to do as a team but, obviously, the most important thing right now is for us as players to work ourselves into getting into the team, because nobody's guaranteed a place in the Springbok team.

"So, what's important is for me not to play like I played last week [but] for me to be better this weekend, and show that I really want to get in that team.

"And that's why it's so important for when we play in our unions, we have to look the part and play our part because that's our ultimate goal."