CRAIG RAY: Siya Kolisi is the born leader the Springboks need
'When I heard his speech at his wedding, I was blown away. It was the most uplifting speech, delivered without notes, coming straight from the heart'
For Kolisi and South Africa his appointment is a much broader statement that rugby’s glacial progression to a truly multiracial sport in SA is gathering pace. The white-tipped polar icecaps of Bok rugby have melted.
Kolisi is only 26 but he has played 103 Super Rugby games and has been part of the Springbok squad since 2012. He has earned his spurs as a player and more recently as a leader.
“The Stormers captaincy has helped my rugby in a massive way. I’m not someone who gives Braveheart speeches. I’m all about my deeds,” Kolisi said in a recent interview.
When Siya Kolisi becomes the first black Springbok Test captain against England next month he will end more than a century of white players captaining the national team. The Boks play against Wales in Washington on June 2 and provincial teammate Pieter-Steph du Toit has been asked to lead the team that day. Kolisi and 16 other players from the 43-man squad chosen for June’s Tests will stay behind to prepare for England. At Ellis Park on June 9 when Kolisi leads the team he will be playing in his 29th Test and will become Bok captain No 61. Du Toit is Bok captain No 60.Kolisi though is not the first black player to captain the Springboks – hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle led the Boks against a World XV in a non-Test in 2006. For both young men it is a massive moment in their professional and personal lives and they will forever be known as Springbok captains. There are only 59 other men, in 127 years since SA played its first of 477 Tests in 1891, who could say that. But for Kolisi and So...