His Stormers teammates and the coaching staff probably knows he needs the extra sugar and energy, as the former Grey High pupil will have a massive task on his hands in their Super Rugby playoff match against the Brumbies on Saturday afternoon.
Kolisi will have two big responsibilities at Newlands in the absence of captain Duane Vermeulen.
Firstly, as an opensider, he will have to compete strongly at the breakdown against Wallaby ace David Pocock, who is set to return to action this weekend after suffering concussion.
Kolisi also has to lead from the front in terms of the Stormers’ physical effort, especially on defence, to try and stifle any momentum the Brumbies hope to generate. He is going to be the first forward in the vacuum, where the big Brumbies’ ball carriers are going to come knocking.
Vermeulen is a beast at the breakdown, and normally sets the tone on defence, and the Stormers are seriously going to miss him.
Obviously, it’s not only Kolisi’s job to protect their attacking breakdown, to slow down the Brumbies’ ball or make the big hits – everybody player in a Stormers jersey needs to chip in. But it’s going to be his job to set the right one.
He already showed the way by saying that they need to start a lot better than in their first encounter at Newlands last month.
The Stormers allowed the Brumbies to settle quickly by building their phases and breaking a few tackles. The home team lacked a bit of intensity in the first half, but Kolisi assured the Cape side’s fans that they will be up for the challenge in the playoff.
“We can’t start the way we started the last time we played them. We will have to step up,” the birthday boy said yesterday.
“The physicality in the first half wasn’t great, so we will have to step it up a lot more. We must just be consistently physical for 80 plus minutes and be on top of our game.”
The Brumbies are a team who take a few risks at the breakdown and are masters at playing the referee. Pocock is the chief poacher, one of the best in the world, and he normally wins his fair share of balls because of his tremendous ability to survive the cleanout.
He will be competing hard to try and slow down the Stormers’ momentum, so that big runners like Eben Etzebeth, Damian de Allende and Nizaam Carr don’t get front-foot ball from which to attack the advantage line.
The Brumbies’ maul has been outstanding this season, and they have scored a plethora of tries from attacking lineouts. They definitely prefer that to scrumming after the Stormers shoved them back on numerous occasions earlier this season.
But the Stormers’ maul hasn’t been as effective this season, while their maul defence could also be better.
“We have seen how many tries the Brumbies have scored, and it’s going to be vital to improve in that because we have leaked a couple of tries in that area,” Kolisi said.
“We have been focusing on that since last week, and we just have to keep on working on it.” - Cape Town
Original source: Kolisi ready to tackle Brumbies