Siya Kolisi. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Siya Kolisi. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Siya Kolisi understands that his appointment as the first black African Bok captain has not been welcomed by everyone.

Some have responded negatively to his appointment for June’s three Tests against England, but the new captain has decided to focus on things over which he has control.

Speaking publicly for the first time since coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed him as captain for the incoming series‚ Kolisi said he was focused on representing SA with dignity and honour and rewarding Erasmus for the huge vote of confidence shown in him.

"I am sometimes unhappy with other people’s decisions‚ so I can’t focus more on what people say about me‚" he said.

"Things are like that in life sometimes, but the most important thing is to work hard on my game so that I can help my country and the coach who has showed so much faith in me.

"To reward coach Rassie is to make sure that I deliver on the pitch," Kolisi said.

"I can’t control what other people think of me, I can only control what I can do on the field‚" he said‚ adding that he did not believe his appointment to the captaincy was political.

"I think it is a genuine appointment by the coach because he is not that kind of person," Kolisi said.

"I have known him since I was 18 years old. We sat down and he was straightforward with me and that is how it is.

"You always know where you stand with him.

"The most important thing is that we play and win rugby matches, and if I have questions I will ask him.

"At the moment I don’t have any questions because he told me the reason he appointed me.

"Coach Rassie is not a politician and neither am I. I am a rugby player and all I want to do is to play well and inspire South Africans of all races."

Kolisi said the unexpected announcement had not sunk in yet but it would probably do so when he leads the team out at Ellis Park on June 9.

"I know how much a big deal this thing is for the country and it will take a while to register. What is important now is to make everybody and my coach who selected me proud," he said.