Kolisi gets his running start
Siya Kolisi made his Springbok debut on June 15 2013 the day before his 22nd birthday, in a match against Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
He replaced the injured Arno Botha in the fifth minute. The Boks won 30-17 and he was named Man of the Match.
Since then, he has been in and out of the national team, coming on as a replacement in 13 test matches.
Last week he finally made his run-on debut for the Springboks in the test against Ireland at Newlands. South Africa lost 20-26. Kolisi was, however, one of the few who played well.
The Equaliser, as he is called by his team-mates, was born in the township of Zwide in Port Elizabeth in 1991.
He celebrated his 25th birthday on Thursday, Youth Day.
The former Grey High School pupil said he was delighted he had finally been given the opportunity to establish himself as a regular in the starting line-up.
“I’m really chuffed because all the hard work seems to be paying off,” said Kolisi.
“Even though I have played for the Boks before, starting in my first test at my home ground at Newlands last week felt, in a strange way, like it was the first time I was playing for my country.
“It’s been a good year for me thus far. Things haven’t always gone according to plan over the past couple of years.
“I played consistently in the Number 7 jersey for the Stormers for most of this season, which has certainly helped a great deal.
“The coaches are now backing me to play in that position, but I’m willing to play anywhere,” he said.
“This year, I’ve just been trying to focus on the things I do well – carrying the ball aggressively and making big hits.
“However, I always strive to improve in all aspects of my game so that I can make a positive contribution to the team.”
The talented Stormers loose forward has always been an option in the line-outs, but hasn’t been used in that capacity before.
“Yes, it is now expected of me to jump into the line-outs as well, which is really a good thing,” he said.
All of the current crop of Springboks under new coach Allister Coetzee are still fairly young.
Kolisi believes it has helped him quite a bit to play in the loose trio with experienced guys like Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw.
“Having guys like that next to me has given me lots of confidence.
“My job is to carry the ball up
I played consistently in the Number 7 jersey for the Stormers SIYA KOLISI
strongly as much as possible so that the team can get the ball on the front foot,” he explained.
Kolisi has stepped into the shoes of his predecessor, Willem Alberts, a huge guy who always relied on his considerable weight and power.
FRONT FOOT Siya Kolisi felt as though he was playing for his country for the first time when he was given a run-on place in the Springboks against Ireland on Thursday