Siya Kolisi respects World Rugby decision over Scotland ‘headbutt’

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi. Picture: SNS
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi. Picture: SNS
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South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi has given his take on the incident that could have resulted in him missing Saturday’s clash against Wales.

READ MORE - South Africa’s Siya Kolisi escapes ban for headbutt on Scotland’s Pete Horne

Kolisi struck Scotland centre Peter Horne with the back of his head during last weekend’s game at Murrayfield.

The flanker subsequently received a citing commissioner warning, but he was not cited and therefore did not have to face a disciplinary hearing.

In statement released 24 hours after the game, World Rugby said there were mitigating factors which meant that Kolisi’s action did not meet the red card threshold, including him “being illegally prevented from rejoining the play by Scotland’s Peter Horne and the moderate force of the strike to the side of the head.”

But a decision not to take the matter further caused a storm of protest from rugby pundits and former players, with many feeling that Kolisi should have been cited.

“I always respect what World Rugby says,” Kolisi told reporters in Cardiff on Friday.

“I would never do something on purpose to hurt someone else. If I had done something stupid like that, I would have been taken off the field.

“My record shows I was clean and I have never done anything.”

Kolisi lines up at the Principality Stadium in a Springboks team unchanged following the 26-20 victory in Edinburgh.

And he will be charged with spearheading South Africa’s quest to redress the balance against Wales, having lost four of the last five games between the countries.

“Obviously, they have had the upper hand on us,” Kolisi added. “It is going to be tough, like all the other games.

“They are a better team than they were the last time we played them. Most of their guys are back from injury, so we are looking forward to a tough battle.

“They (Wales) work hard for one another, and obviously they are well-coached as well.

“They believe in what they are doing, and it shows. They have won eight in a row.

“It’s a challenge. Their pack is good, they are a very aggressive side, they will be different to anything we’ve faced on our (European) tour.”

Kolisi, meanwhile, praised Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus, who was only appointed eight months ago but has already masterminded victories over New Zealand and England, among others.

“We have a different coaching staff, and they’ve changed quite a lot of things,” he said. “We work a lot harder than we did, and we believe a lot more than we did.

“He (Erasmus) has definitely made us realise what is important - it’s being a Springbok, rather than you as an individual. Everything you do, you do for the Springboks.”