Red Bull athlete Siya Kolisi lead the South African national team to a historic victory in Yokohama, Japan on Saturday 2 November 2019.
The occasion also marked the 28-year-old’s 50th test match. Undoubtedly a day to remember for the man who rose to the top of his sport from very humble beginnings.
Here are a few interesting facts:
– Francois Pienaar hoisting the trophy at Ellis Park in 1995, with then-president Nelson Mandela alongside him. John Smit did the same at the Stade de France in Paris 12 years on.
– Twelve years further and it is the turn of Siya Kolisi to walk that path. The first black man to captain the national team.
– Kolisi remembers the 2007 event and what it did for the country back then. He watched the final at a tavern because he didn’t have a television at home.
– Kolisi’s father travelled to Japan to watch his son play in the final. It was his first-ever trip abroad.
– Kolisi made his debut for the National Team in 2013, when, at the tender age of 21, he came on as a replacement against Scotland and put in a Man-of The-Match performance.
– The loose forward is known for his rare blend of speed and power and is comfortable on both sides of the scrum.
– In 2017, he became the captain of the Stormers Super Rugby franchise
– In 2018 Kolisi was named the captain of the national team, making history as the first black test rugby captain in the 127-year history of South African rugby.
Off the field, Kolisi is passionate about using his platform as a professional athlete for positive change: “You must never think your contribution is less than someone else’s,” he said. “Everyone can do something good. No matter how small. I believe we need to stop complaining about what is wrong with South Africa and ‘living’ the South Africa we want to see.”