What makes Bok skipper Siyamthanda Kolisi so special?

By Jacques vd Westhuyzen & Wynona Louw Time of article published Nov 5, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – I remember when Siya Kolisi was appointed captain of the Stormers. The significance of his appointment was obviously huge but it’s what he consistently did after his appointment that stood out for me.

When he walked into his first Stormers press conference as captain, it didn’t take everybody present long to realise what this man is about.

In that presser and all the ones that followed, there was something extremely familiar about Kolisi, which was weird, because we didn’t have any more dealings with him prior to his appointment than we had with any of the other players.

The way he engaged with media, greeting every single person individually and striking up a conversation whenever he could, showed what kind of person, what kind of captain, he was.

But those media engagements weren’t the only thing that gave a glimpse into the Kolisi’s character.

Ask any of his teammates about the way he leads and they’re sure to mention his “team first” approach, his work ethic, his ability to connect with people and how inspirational he is.

But that goes without saying

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi and head coach Rassie Erasmus after winning the World Rugby Team of the Year and World Rugby Coach of the Year at the World Rugby Awards in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday. Photo: EPA

Kolisi’s story alone is enough to inspire anybody who has half an interest in humanity, not even just rugby.

However, a story is nothing without action and that’s what where this man has been sensational.

Kolisi doesn’t just shine when it comes to his well-known strengths; during the World Cup, especially, he showed that he also knows how to stand up when it comes to the “harder” work, the work that doesn’t always get enough credit, the work that doesn’t see him sprint down the wide channels.

He’s done what the Springboks need him to do. And whether you prefer attack-first Kolisi or the Kolisi who’s done a lot of the grafting in Japan, the point is, it’s always been about the team.

How he inspires the team, not just through his story but through his actions, how he connects with those inside and outside the team, how he leads the team.

That’s what makes Siya Kolisi such a special leader.

Siya and SA President Cyril Ramaphosa celebrate victory in Japan.Photo: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

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