Siya Kolisi spoke about how tough it was for him to compete with players who had good nutrition. Photo: Reuters

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has trended at the top of Twitter in South Africa over the last 24 hours following his comments about quotas and transformation in rugby.

Kolisi travelled to Japan in December as part of a campaign with Panasonic, who have formed a partnership with him to supply solar lights to children in townships.

In an interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo, Kolisi gave the following answer to a question about quotas and transformation in South African rugby…

Question: “What do you think he (Nelson Mandela) would say? You were talking about a better South Africa, and saying he was such a great role model and so forgiving. There are still some people who talk about the transformation system, where certain numbers have to play in certain teams…”

Siya Kolisi: “I don’t think he would’ve supported that. Well, I don’t know him. I think you shouldn’t put a number on stuff like that.

“If you want to talk transformation, you’ve gotta start there (at the lower levels). Imagine if I didn’t go to the English school – I wouldn’t have eaten properly. I wouldn’t have grown properly.

“I wouldn’t have the preparation like the other boys did, because when I went to the English school, I had to compete against boys who had been eating six meals a day, each and every single day of their lives.

“And it’s tough. And now, if you want to force someone into the Springbok team, and maybe they are not good enough – they have one bad game, you will probably never see them again.

“We need to be prepared. Like Currie Cup, you can push people in and see how they do. But you can’t just…

“Representing South Africa is a tough because we want results and transformation. But it can… the guys playing there now, I think, the talent’s there.

“I wouldn’t want to be picked because of my skin colour. That surely wouldn’t be good for the team. The guys around you, surely, would know.

“And it’s tough for us as players because now if you put a certain amount or number on it, are you actually there because you are good enough? Or – even if you are, sometimes you doubt yourself.”


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