SHIZUOKA – Tommaso Allan has hailed South Africa captain Siya Kolisi as an inspiration to his nation ahead of Italy's game against the Springboks on Friday.
The Azzurri fly-half became friends with Kolisi after spending two summers in Cape Town playing and studying, later joining Western Province Academy at 18. Kolisi, who also moved to Western Province after growing up in the impoverished Zwide township outside Port Elizabeth, is the first black player to captain the Springboks.
The two friends will be up against each other when Italy look to advance their claims on a Rugby World Cup quarteRfinals place for the first time in the match at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa.
"He (Kolisi) is an inspiration for South Africa," said Allan, whose side has just one win and 13 defeats against the Springboks. "Where he came from and where he is now, he can inspire the whole country.
"To know you don't have to come from a rich family to become something of an inspiration for South Africa as a country. He is a great leader for them."