Kolisi: We’re all dif­fer­ent but with same goals

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT&RACING -

PERTH: Given Siya Kolisi’s bril­liant June se­ries against France and three tries in two Tests against Ar­gentina last month, the Wal­la­bies will have to keep a keen eye on the Springbok flanker in Perth to­day.

As hard in the tackle as he is on the ball at the break­down, and with pace and power to spare in the loose, Kolisi has all the at­tributes to be­come a world class back-row for­ward, if he is not there al­ready.

Hav­ing only got his first Test start dur­ing South Africa’s mis­er­able 2016 cam­paign, how­ever, the 26-year-old is keep­ing his feet firmly on the ground.

“I can al­ways get bet­ter,” the 21-cap flanker told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia after his Man of the Match dis­play in the 41-23 vic­tory over the Pu­mas in Salta two weeks ago.

“I’m look­ing for im­prove­ment ev­ery week and I’m never sat­is­fied with my per­for­mance.

“I want to play well and make sure that I put my firm hand on the jersey be­cause I haven’t played a lot in a start­ing po­si­tion, so I am try­ing to use that as best as I can.”

Kolisi has been at the heart of the trans­for­ma­tion of the Spring­boks un­der coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee this sea­son, start­ing all five of the Test vic­to­ries that have got their year off to such an en­cour­ag­ing start.

Handed the cap­taincy at the Storm­ers in Su­per Rugby this sea­son, his in­flu­ence is such that for­mer Springbok as­sis­tant coach Gary Gold be­lieves he should have taken the arm­band from the in­jured War­ren White­ley for the Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

The younger but more ex­pe­ri­enced Storm­ers vice­cap­tain Eben Etze­beth got the nod, how­ever, and it is a de­ci­sion that sits well with Kolisi.

“I’m a ser­vant, that’s the kind of leader I am,” he added.

“I’m a good ser­vant, I’m a good fol­lower, and I can fol­low any­one who is lead­ing and I think that is my call­ing and my role at the mo­ment.

“Tough times are go­ing to come and I want to be there for who­ever is lead­ing the team,” he added.

Born in grind­ing poverty in the Zwide town­ship out­side Port El­iz­a­beth, Kolisi’s back­ground is a world away from that of some of his team­mates.

His ar­tic­u­la­tion of the cul­ture that has been fos­tered at the Spring­boks this sea­son, how­ever, sug­gests that it might not be too long be­fore he be­comes the first black player to be named Springbok cap­tain on a per­ma­nent ba­sis.

“We started our own cul­ture this year that we can live by and that is what we are driv­ing,” Kolisi ex­plained.

“There are no rules, just the cul­ture and val­ues that we live by, and we want the best for the Springbok team and one an­other.

“We want to break th­ese cul­tural bar­ri­ers and we want to be one. We are all dif­fer­ent at the end of the day and what we want to do is to bring our best to the ta­ble. We can’t all be the same but we can have the same goal and vi­sion.” – Reuters

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