Kolisi backs Willemse to come good after frustrating Ireland Test: ‘He will improve’ | Sport

Damian Willemse. (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

  • Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said Damian Willemse will bounce back from his difficult outing against Ireland on Saturday.
  • Willemse had a frustrating evening at the Aviva Stadium as the Boks lost 19-16 against their hosts to lose for the third consecutive time against Ireland in Dublin.
  • Kolisi said Ireland did their homework, but they defended well for the better part of the game.

In Dublin

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi backed starlet Damian Willemse to bounce back and come good from his difficult game against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Willemse’s confidence was undermined when he fluffed a first-half penalty and he proceeded to have a frustrating game as the Boks lost 19-16 to Ireland.

Willemse’s penalty miss meant the kicking duties were offloaded to fullback Cheslin Kolbe, but the real matter of a lack of a reliable goal-kicker meant kickable penalties had to be sent to touch for lineouts.

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There were also the seven points missed by Kolbe and Willemse that matter in the long run of the game, costing the Boks as they lost in Dublin for the third consecutive time.

Kolisi said they have full confidence in Willemse and he’ll get more chances to play.

“Damian played well and he’ll get more opportunities to play,” Kolisi said.

“He will improve and our [responsibility] is to make sure that he improves in whatever way that he needs to.

“It’s also very good that they’re getting experience now in these big games so that when the World Cup comes around, such pressure situations aren’t new to them.”

RECAP | Late Springbok charge not enough as Ireland win Dublin thriller

Kolisi also lauded Ireland for the homework they put in from a maul diffusion perspective, saying but also applauded their defence.

Ireland snared two key opportunities in the 10 minutes after half-time and made it count, while the Boks were again guilty of not using their opportunities effectively.

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“In general play and in collisions, they came in very hard,” Kolisi said.

“We stopped them in the maul, but with the kind of penalties that they got, we also could not get the maul going.

“I think we did very well on defence, and we made some very good reads. We stopped their momentum and tackled them from the 22 to the tryline, but our discipline let us down.

“We stuck to our guns, but I thought that in the scrum and the maul, they stopped us very well.”

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