Hazyview - After appearing on the fringes of the Springbok rugby team for most of 2012, flanker Siyamthanda Kolisi’s patience and determination will finally pay off on Saturday.
The hard-hitting player, who could not contain his excitement following his selection on the bench for the Test against Scotland in Nelspruit, said the first thing he would do was phone his father.
“He is going to be more emotional than me, I mean I am the first Springbok from the township where I come from,” Kolisi said after being told of his inclusion on Wednesday.
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“He is going to be a very proud dad, and he is going to cry a bit and I will probably join him.
“I am really happy but it isn’t only about me, it is about everybody that’s been supporting me everyone in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.”
Kolisi, who hailed from the Zwide township in Port Elizabeth, rose to prominence when he aptly filled the boots of the injured Schalk Burger for the Stormers in last year’s Super Rugby season.
His work ethic and strong ball carries soon caught the attention of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and he was rewarded with a call-up to the Springbok squad for the June international Test series against England.
Kolisi, however, had to be content with the exposure he received by being part of the squad as he did not make any of the match-day sides.
He also part of the Rugby Championships squad, but was released to Western Province to play Currie Cup rugby.
The 21-year-old’s dream year came to an abrupt halt when he broke his right thumb in the Currie Cup match against the Golden Lions at the end of August, and was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Kolisi had since picked up where he left off last year and said he had been motivated by the faith shown in him by Meyer last year.
“He’s always been backing me and that is why I’ve always stayed positive. He’s been encouraging me all the time,” Kolisi said.
“It is a huge privilege but I kind of knew it would come somewhere along the line.”
Kolisi said it had been an arduous process recovering from the injury and getting back to the level which earned him his first call-up.
However, it had all been worthwhile after putting in the hard yards during this season’s Super Rugby.
He said he looked forward to pulling the Springbok jersey over his head and representing his country.
“It is a great thing for me and I have to be a role model,” he said beaming with pride.
“As a Springbok, it is not only about rugby, it’s the things you do off the field.”
While Kolisi was a superb ball-carrier, he admitted he still needed to work at the fetching facet of his play, which was an integral part of an openside flanker’s armour.
Meyer on Tuesday said his young openside flankers such as Kolisi and Marcell Coetzee needed to show they could fulfil a fetcher role as well.
“I spoke to both Siya and Marcell and if they want to play there, they need to show they can play a specialist role,” Meyer said.
“We also have a guy like Heinrich Brussow and, if one of these guys doesn’t show he can play a specialist openside role, then there is no reason why Brussow can’t come into the mix.”
Kolisi said with hard work he was certain he would master the role.
“I am willing to learn and I am willing to do anything to stay in the team and it will be better for my rugby,” Kolisi said.
“I will be a more versatile loose forward and I will definitely work on it and do my best at it.”