CAPE TOWN – There was only one thing that was desperately needed by the Springboks last year - redemption.
Where that redemption would come from and in what form it would come didn’t matter as much. The only thing that really mattered was that they would save themselves after a steady decline over a couple of seasons.
And when the Boks secured a 3-0 series whitewash over France in June last year, they managed to save some face. And that was needed. It brought some joy to the South African rugby community. Even though that joy wouldn’t stretch throughout 2017.
And at the heart of the Bok joy was Siya Kolisi’s masterclass in Durban.
Masterclass is a strong word. It’s a very expressive word. But Kolisi’s on-field productions against the French in the second Test in Durban relayed skill and rugby expertise better than the word "masterclass" can even begin to define.
He was massive. He relished in the captaincy role he was given at the Stormers and he produced the performance of his career. And it was the perfect continuation of a series of top-quality Super Rugby outings.
He scored a stunning intercept try. He created another. He was huge on defence. He won several crucial turnovers. He was the brightest Bok, without a doubt.
And just like his game evolved when he was handed the Stormers captaincy armband, the Bok leadership just might be enough to bring back the super Siya of 2017.
Kolisi’s skill and abilities as a player have long been known, but last year was the first time he got a proper chance to show the depth of his quality at international level consistently. And he couldn’t have used it in a better way.
I would not be at all surprised to see the Bok captaincy bring the best out of Kolisi. And I’m pretty sure at the end of this year we will be celebrating many more “Durban moments” with the compliments of Bok skipper Siya Kolisi.