Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi has been left baffled by claims he insinuated that the England pack was weak after the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
England coach Eddie Jones made the claims in the build-up to the Twickenham Test between his team and South Africa.
Eddie Jones weaves a tale
Kolisi believes that Jones is deliberately trying to put words in his mouth to him in an effort to fire his team and the capacity crowd up.
“They said after the World Cup final, where they beat us fair and square, that they knew how to play to us, they knew where our weaknesses were,” Jones said.
“Kolisi said he knew how to beat us. Their game is based on physicality and they were implying that our forward pack was weak.
“But our English forward pack won’t be weak on Saturday. We’ll have 82,000 people supporting us and we are looking forward to taking them on in that physicality.”
Siya Kolisi denies calling the England pack weak
Kolisi said that he cannot recall saying anything of the sort, and that phrasing does not appear in any recorded interview with the Bok captain.
“I’m still trying to figure out when I said all those things,” he said.
“I never speak about the other team in that way. I’ve never spoken like that before. I don’t remember saying that.
“We know how we want to play rugby and that’s what we pride ourselves on. We do our research on how they want to play. We want to make sure our plan works against their plan.”
England vs South Africa – teams
(Backs) Freddie Steward; Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May; Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; (Forwards) Bevan Rodd, Jamie Blamire, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill; Courtney Lawes (c), Sam Underhill, Tom Curry
South Africa Team
(Backs) Willie le Roux; Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; (Forwards) Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane; Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager; Siya Kolisi (c), Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen