Siya wants to put smiles on Stormers’ fans faces in 2020
Super Rugby / 15 January 2020, 09:00am / Ashfak Mohamed
CAPE TOWN – Hanging out at NBA games, meeting Jurgen Klopp and watching Liverpool in the Champions League were just some of the perks that came Siya Kolisi’s way after he led the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in Japan.
But as enthralling as all of that sounds, the loose forward is back in his happy place - on a rugby pitch, and getting ready for the 2020 Super Rugby season at the Stormers.
The Cape franchise begin their campaign against the Hurricanes at Newlands on 1 February, but before that, they will play in a Superhero Sunday warm-up clash against the Sharks at FNB Stadium on Sunday (1pm kickoff).
It has been a whirlwind few months for Kolisi since he lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama on 2 November, but he has been putting in the hard yards in training at the Stormers’ Bellville base to be in prime condition for the new season and take the team to the holy grail of a Super Rugby title.
“Things just went straight up after the World Cup - it’s been a lot, I have been travelling all around the world. It was awesome, I won’t lie! But it’s really good to be back, playing rugby each and every day, back into my routine,” Kolisi said.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, and meeting a lot of the new guys. It’s a different year, a very emotional year for a lot of us - not only us as players, but the faithful have been in and out supporting us. Finding out that it’s our last year at Newlands, it’s tough for a lot of us.
“But we can also try to use it as a positive and give people something to smile about. We are hoping that the people will just come, and we make this a year of celebration, not only off the field, but on the field as well - to give something to people, so that they can say throughout the challenges of the past couple of years, that this last year at Newlands was really amazing.”
Siya 'The Bear' Kolisi's all smiles today. Good mood, good vibes and great photos. Must be that winning feeling 😉 pic.twitter.com/Is8YqZvU0N
Kolisi said that his deal with the Roc Nation management company owned by American rapper Jay-Z was about “doing things overseas and giving back to South Africa”, and meeting the Liverpool manager Klopp was an amazing experience.
“Meeting the coach (Klopp) by accident in Camps Bay, and then two weeks later, I was there watching the game What you see of him hugging his players on the side of the field is how he is,” the 28-year-old said.
“He watches and learns a lot from different sports. When Dobbo (Stormers coach John Dobson) goes and sees what other teams are doing, I hope that he can go there as well. This is our year as Liverpool, and the Stormers!”
But saying that this will finally be the Stormers’ year and actually doing it is another thing. The Boks’ remarkable World Cup triumph will provide Kolisi with a few pointers, and that self-belief that shone through in Japan will fuel the Stormers as well.
“To go back to when we played New Zealand (in 2018), if we didn’t beat them that day - that made a huge change in us. The second game was even close. That is big for our mentality, and it is something that I always hoped we can take into our (provincial) unions,” the skipper said.
“We want to do it over and over. Rugby is the one sport that you can get humbled very quickly. I know if I don’t perform, everybody forgets about everything that you achieved.”