Siya Kolisi celebrates after scoring against France in Durban. Photo: Gavin Barker/ BackpagePix
Siya Kolisi celebrates after scoring against France in Durban. Photo: Gavin Barker/ BackpagePix
Kolisi celebrates with his Springbok teammates. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Kolisi celebrates with his Springbok teammates. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

PRETORIA - Springbok flank Siya Kolisi has already picked up his hand as one of the standout performers in the resurgent Springbok team this year and has now promised bigger and better performances.

Having walked away with a second Man of the Match award this year against Argentina in Salta, Kolisi is looking at putting in a better showing for the Springboks in the upcoming Test against the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday. While most are in awe at Kolisi’s heroics in the Green and Gold, he believes that he needs to get fitter.

“I can always get better. I start off well but I get tired in the latter parts of the game because I start cramping. I will be working a lot more on my fitness and conditioning but this team makes me want to do more. They make me want to be better every single week, so I’m looking for improvement every week and I’m never satisfied with my performance,” said Kolisi.

And just as critical as Kolisi is with his personal form, he is not getting carried away with the Springboks' five match unbeaten run so far this year. It is obvious the strides the Springboks have made on the field since last year’s disastrous season and at the heart of the team’s resurrection, is the new team culture.

“We just want to keep on improving and getting better. We want to work on our culture every day and make sure we live our values, care for one another and put the Springboks first before our own values and make sure the team does well. We want to always show commitment, strive for excellence and we want to be better people on the field and off the field as well.”

My heart ❤️

A post shared by Siya Kolisi (@siya_kolisi_the_bear) on

There can be no doubting the transformation Kolisi has undergone since cementing his place in the starting XV and the fact that he is comfortable playing at No 6 or seven, makes him a vital cog in Allister Coetzee’s machinery.

Kolisi’s rise to prominence was sparked by his Test debut four years ago against Scotland when he came off the bench to replace an injured Arno Botha. Under former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, Kolisi was considered nothing more than a bench player.

His career took a turn for the better this year when he was handed the Stormers captaincy by coach Robbie Fleck and even though he is a man of few words, Kolisi found his voice through his actions on the field.

Such has been the impact of Kolisi’s leadership, that many called for him to ascend to the Springbok captaincy, particularly after the injury to Warren Whiteley. That role was, however, given to his Stormers teammate Eben Etzebeth. But for Kolisi, making Etzebeth the captain was the right call.

Said Kolisi: “Leadership for me is different. I can speak but I don’t like speaking a lot, it’s about my actions on and off the field. I’m a servant, that’s the kind of leader I am. I’m a good servant, I’m a good follower. And I can follow anyone who is leading and I think that is my calling and my role at the moment.

"I enjoy responsibility and I enjoy pressure as well. Tough times are going to come and I want to be there for whoever is leading the team. My main focus now is to make sure that I play and perform well and that is my way of supporting anyone who is leading. I want to play well and make sure that I put my firm hand on the jersey because I haven’t played a lot in a starting position so I am trying to use that as best as I can".

Kolisi’s promise of better things to come may be a wake-up call for the Wallabies and All Blacks. That promise could also have every Springbok fan begging for more as the unconventional loose forward breaks all the stereotypes regarding what a flank should be.

“We are very young and I’ve only got a couple of Tests under my belt. Eben and Beast (Mtwarira) are a little bit experienced and obviously we learn a lot from each other. We started our own culture this year that we can live by and that is what we are driving," Kolisi added. 

"There are no rules, just the culture and values that we live by and we want the best for the Springbok team and one another. We want to break these cultural barriers and we want to be one. We are all different at the end of the day and what we want to do is to bring our best to the table. We can’t all be the same but we can have the same goal and vision.”

Pretoria News

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