Kolisi shares glory as usual


SIYA Kolisi struck a fa­mil­iar tune when he praised his Spring­bok team­mates in­stead of claim­ing all the glory him­self af­ter be­ing cho­sen as the Per­son­al­ity of the Year by the UK Rugby Union Writ­ers’ Club in Lon­don on Mon­day night.

Kolisi’s coach Rassie Eras­mus and team­mate Faf de Klerk were also nom­i­nated, as well as Wales cap­tain Alun Wyn Jones and Ja­pan leader Michael Leitch.

The 28-year-old be­came the sec­ond Bok skip­per to be handed the Pat Mar­shall Me­mo­rial Award af­ter Fran­cois Pien­aar.

“Thank you so much for this. I’m re­ally hon­oured to be ac­cept­ing this award. It is a huge hon­our and priv­i­lege on be­half of me and ob­vi­ously my team­mates – with­out them, I wouldn’t have achieved this,” Kolisi said in a video on so­cial me­dia.

“So, thank you for this – it is not just for me and my team­mates in South Africa, but for all the rugby play­ers around the world. Let’s keep on grow­ing the game.”

Chair­per­son of the writ­ers’ club, Rob Kit­son, wrote in The Guardian: “As any­one fa­mil­iar with Kolisi’s ex­tra­or­di­nary back story will know, he must be the ul­ti­mate ex­am­ple of just how trans­for­ma­tive sport can be.

“How many of us would have had the en­ergy, de­sire, am­bi­tion and sheer bloody-mind­ed­ness to con­quer the world from where Kolisi’s jour­ney com­menced?

“… He grew up in the tough township of Zwide out­side Port El­iz­a­beth, raised by his grand­mother from the age of 15 af­ter his mother died.

“There was so lit­tle money that his favourite child­hood toy was a brick; so lit­tle food that of­ten he had to train on an empty stom­ach.”

Kolisi is gear­ing up for the 2020 Su­per Rugby sea­son at the Storm­ers, which will play their fi­nal warm-up match against the Sharks on Sun­day.

The Storm­ers’ tour­na­ment opener is against the Hur­ri­canes at New­lands on Fe­bru­ary 1, and the cap­tain wants to make it a mem­o­rable fi­nal sea­son at the fa­mous old ground. “We’re hop­ing peo­ple will just come and we make this a year of cel­e­bra­tion,” he said.

◆ See the video at https:// twitter.com/RUWCOf­fi­cial/sta­tus/1216846231­789613057?s=20

Siya Kolisi

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