President Cyril Ramaphosa with Springboks Coach Rassie Erasmus and Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi during the Springboks rugby team Welcome to the Union Buildings on the 07 November 2019. Picture: JAIRUS MMUTLE/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Springboks Coach Rassie Erasmus and Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi during the Springboks rugby team Welcome to the Union Buildings on the 07 November 2019. Picture: JAIRUS MMUTLE/GCIS

Siya Kolisi has been named the most influential person in rugby in 2020, according to Rugby World magazine.

The respected publication had the Springboks’ World Cup-winning coach Rassie Erasmus sixth on their list of 50 movers and shakers in the sport.   

Kolisi, who captained the Springboks to World Cup glory in Japan in 2019, has been feted in the months since the team’s stunning success.

Kolisi became the face of the team that recorded steady progress over the past two years, culminating in him lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama in November 2019.

The publication also said that Kolisi‚ SA’s first black captain‚ “has been working tirelessly with his foundation to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Kolisi has recognised the significance of that sporting moment and has since proved an inspiration off the field as well as on it,” the publication noted. “He is a role model in all senses — and adds the title of the most influential person in rugby to a growing list of accolades.”

The magazine got some heavy hitters to arrive at their final list. “Kolisi is definitely the most influential man in rugby at the moment. He’s also probably the most visionary and the most courageous‚” Rugby World columnist Stephen Jones wrote in the August 2020 edition.

“Kolisi appreciates the power of rugby‚ and has the standing and authority and intelligence to be a statesman as well‚ to know exactly what he is saying and why it means everything.

“You also get the impression for this great man that he is saying exactly what he believes‚ with no gilding of his words for anyone’s consumption.”

The process of naming the most influential person in the sport proved exhaustive with more than 120 people canvassed on the topic.

The only other player to make the top 10 is England lock Maro Itoje‚ who is third‚ while newly elected World Rugby vice-chair and French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte ranked second.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux is 15th on the list‚ while Jacques Nienaber‚ who was Springbok defence coach at the 2019 World Cup but has since become the team’s head coach‚ is 43rd.

Rugby World magazine’s top 10 most influential people in rugby are:

1 Siya Kolisi

2 Bernard Laporte

3 Maro Itoje

4 Warren Gatland

5 Nick Clarry

6 Rassie Erasmus

7 Claude Atcher

8 Eddie Jones

9 Eanna Falvey

10 Katie Sadleir

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