Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has refuted suggestions that his teammates will be directing comments at Duhan van der Merwe during the first test.
Van der Merwe will start for the British and Irish Lions today, but the sizeable winger was born and raised in South Africa and qualified for Scotland through residency last year.
The Lions winger was speaking at a press conference about playing against the country of his birth and insisted that any potential comments directed to him from the Springboks would not bother him.
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‘People can say what they want to say.’
“In any game you play you always get some verbals here and there, you get people getting stuck into you and I’m used to it, I know I’ll get a few boys holding on to me, pushing me,” van der Merwe said.
“I’m just going to avoid it and focus on my game. I don’t get stuck into those bits. Every game you get a few words here or there, but you just have to get on with it, that’s rugby.
“People can say what they want to say, if you look into those bits, it’s just going to get to you. I’m not really bothered by that. I’m just going to go out there on Saturday and do my thing.”
Siya Kolisi insists his team will not verbally target Duhan van der Merwe.
South Africa captain Kolisi was also speaking at a press conference and insisted that he and his teammates would not be verbally targeting the Lions winger during the game.
While van der Merwe has suggested he is prepared for any verbals that may come his way, Kolisi stressed that the Springboks would be focusing on the game itself, and not on trying to distract opposition players.
“You clearly haven’t heard anything from our side and we’ve never been that kind of team and we’ll never be that kind of team,” Kolisi commented.
Kolisi and Stick on how the Boks will treat Duhan van der Merwe.
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“We’re going about our business, we’re focused on the game. We’re not going to focus on one player. That definitely doesn’t come from our side.
“So I don’t know anything about that because we haven’t come out and said ‘This is what we’re going to do, we’re going to be chirping [at van der Merwe]. No, we don’t do that. We save our energy for the work that we need to do.”
Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick backed up Kolisi’s comments, saying they would have invited van der Merwe around to meet the squad in different times.
“You know very well we are good people, us South Africans. If it wasn’t for the pandemic we would have surely invited Duhan for a braaivleis (South African barbecue),” Stick said.