Siya Kolisi will become just the second player to captain the Springboks on 50 occasions when he leads the side out against Tonga in the Rugby World Cup Pool B clash on Sunday.
Kolisi was handed the captaincy when Rassie Erasmus took over the coaching reins in 2018 and has since led his country on 49 occasions.
‘Something I never dreamed of’
He follows 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning captain John Smit – who skippered the Boks 83 times – in reaching the milestone, something Kolisi never imagined doing.
“It’s honestly something I never dreamed of, something that I never thought would happen,” Kolisi told reporters ahead of the milestone.
“Where I come from, people didn’t have dreams like that. I started playing rugby because I enjoyed it; it kept me out of trouble, and my friends played the sport. But I certainly didn’t think I’d be sitting here now.”
Former Stormers and Western Province coach Robbie Fleck first gave Kolisi the armband in Cape Town, and things have certainly changed for the flanker since then.
“I’ve always been the joker in the team, the naughty one,” Kolisi said.
“Coach Fleckie came to my wedding, and he heard me speak, and after the wedding, he said, ‘I think you should lead the team’.
“He gave me the captaincy after that, but it took a while. I would always be the joker, the last one at the party, the drunkest one in the room, and now I must be something different. It took a while, but I just try to be myself in everything I do.”
Being the first black captain of the Springboks
Although it seems that the leadership role has come naturally to the 2019 World Cup-winning captain, Kolisi said that it was a difficult adjustment, particularly when he became the first black captain of the Springboks.
“Here at the Springboks, that was tough; it was really difficult at the beginning because I don’t think there’s any greater honour other than playing for the Springboks,” he said.
“To captain a team like this with its history and everything. Being the first black captain, it was difficult.
“In my mind, I was being captain of the Springboks, it’s a big thing already, but for so many people, it meant so much more, and I didn’t understand the weight of it.
“I was fortunate to have the players we have in the group; Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, who had captained the team, Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has captained the team, Handre Pollard – I honestly wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have the guys that we have and also the coaching staff.
“Coach Rassie [Erasmus] understood. He knows me. He’s known me since I was 17 years old and Jacques [Nienaber] since I was 18. They know what kind of person I am, and they built things around me.
“My role hasn’t changed since that first game that I played. It’s simple; I just have to play well and talk to the ref. Honestly, without the team that we have, the players and the management, I don’t think I would have lasted.”
READ MORE: Springboks boss reveals Duane Vermeulen’s new role at the Rugby World Cup
The article Siya Kolisi reflects on journey from ‘naughty one’ to Springboks captaincy milestone appeared first on Planetrugby.com.
Article courtesy of