TOKYO, 26 Oct – South Africa captain Siya Kolisi has urged his team-mates to put everything they have learned in Japan into practice to book their place in the World Cup final.
The Springboks take on Wales in Yokohama on Sunday night in a match that, for many experts, is too tight to call.
Kolisi, pictured above leading his team's salute of the crowd, knows there could be fine margins separating the sides and, after bouncing back from defeat against New Zealand in their opening game at RWC 2019, he has urged his players to play with their heads as well as their hearts against the Welsh.
He insists they are well placed to do that after applying the lessons they took from that setback against the All Blacks to get better on and off the field.
"The most important thing is we learned from that game (against New Zealand)," he said. "We are definitely a better team than we were at that time.
"All those errors, you can blame the referee as much as you want, but there is some stuff you want to fix as well. We've grown as a team. We have matured a bit more.
"We lost the first game, so we've been under pressure from the beginning of the World Cup. We've been playing play-off rugby from the beginning.
"Being here for so long has also helped us get used to the environment, and know what works for you and what doesn't while you are here.
🗣"We are a country that needs some good news"@Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus says a South Africa win in the semi-finals would have positive effects reaching further than just rugby. #RWC2019 #WALvRSA pic.twitter.com/P1i1GsJBWf— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 25, 2019
"Our team spirit and understanding of one another as a team has also helped us a lot. We know what makes the guy next to you tick. That has been huge for us.
"There can always be improvement in everything. Our defence, our discipline can be better. You can never be satisfied in this game, as the game changes every week, as well as the opposition.
"This weekend's opposition is really good in the air. They can kick the ball, their set piece is very good. We can win the ball, but we have to make sure we execute afterwards."