Grow­ing at rapid rate, Kolisi now owns No 6 jer­sey

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

I WON­DER if, one year ago, Siya Kolisi thought that he’d be any­where close to where he is now.

From be­ing ap­pointed as the Storm­ers cap­tain at the start of the Su­per Rugby sea­son, to start­ing in all three Tests for the Spring­boks against France dur­ing the In­com­ing Tour, there have a few spe­cial mo­ments for the loose for­ward this sea­son.

He has cer­tainly come a long way since mak­ing his in­ter­na­tional de­but back in 2013.

Cap­taincy has done Kolisi well. It has done him ex­tremely well. He got his ca­reer as cap­tain off to the best pos­si­ble start with a con­vinc­ing 37-24 win over their old foes, the Bulls, at New­lands.

He’s thrilled in the Storm­ers jer­sey with his ex­cit­ing per­for­mances, whether it’s been slick off­loads or elu­sive runs. Yes, the Storm­ers suf­fered harsh de­feats on their tour to New Zealand un­der Kolisi (he was also rested in one of those games), but he can’t be held re­spon­si­ble on his own for those de­feats.

Any­way, fast for­ward to June 10, and Kolisi wrote a whole new chap­ter on his ca­reer.

Last year, ahead of the Spring­boks’ first Test against Ire­land at New­lands and Kolisi’s first Spring­bok start, he said that, in a way, it felt like it would be his first time play­ing for the team. Kolisi was never even guar­an­teed a spot in the Bok match­day squad...

But he played in all three Tests against France, and made the No 6 jer­sey his own. He showed he can be a me­nace on the ground, and his abil­ity with ball in hand was high­lighted.

Dur­ing the sec­ond Test in Dur­ban, he pro­duced ar­guably one of the best in­di­vid­ual Spring­bok per­for­mances that we’ve seen in a long time and his best per­for­mance ever as he had a mas­sive hand in the Boks’ sec­ond vic­tory. He was in­volved in three of the Spring­boks’ four tries, in­clud­ing scor­ing a fan­tas­tic in­ter­cept try, and he sent passes to El­ton Jan­tjies and Jan Ser­fortein to put them away.

And in the third Test, he was no let down ei­ther. To think that we still have the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and the end-ofyear tour. I can’t wait to see how much more Kolisi grows. Be­cause if his growth in the last few months is any­thing to go by, then there’s no telling what he can achieve in the Spring­bok set-up. Fu­ture Bok cap­tain, per­haps? And what a pow­er­ful sig­nal of change that would be for our coun­try.

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