Springboks

Kolisi's unique captaincy style paying off for Boks

2018-06-22 22:05
Siya Kolisi (Gallo)

Cape Town - When Siya Kolisi was named Springbok captain towards the end of last month, he said he would wait until the end of the three-Test series against England to let it all sink in. 

The task at hand, Kolisi said at the time, meant that there wasn't much time to ponder over the significance of being South Africa's first black Test captain. 

But two wins later and with the series wrapped up, Kolisi is starting to feel like he belongs. 

He has not discussed his future with coach Rassie Erasmus just yet, and with the likes of Warren Whiteley and Eben Etzebeth expected to return to the side for the Rugby Championship there will be other captaincy options, but it is difficult to see Erasmus changing anything given how well the Boks and the country have responded to Kolisi's leadership. 

It may not seem so on the surface, but Kolisi's leadership style is unique. 

While most captains in sport are vocal and imposing, Kolisi has no problem sharing the load and letting others take centre stage.

In fact, he encourages that. 

Kolisi is the first to admit that, when the Boks were 24-3 down in the first Test in Johannesburg, it was Vermeulen's words that helped get them out of a that hole. 

Instead of trying to be the only leader, Kolisi acknowledges that there is greater strength in inclusion. 

"He’s huge, not only in supporting me but in the player he is on the field," Kolisi said of Vermeulen on Friday. 

"There are times when I honestly don’t know what to say and that’s where he comes in, or a guy like Handre (Pollard) comes in.

"We are all relatively young but we learn a lot from each other.

"I think the biggest thing is that there are no egos. Everyone is able to give input and I’m not going to try and be the main voice of the team if somebody else has a better idea."

Comfortable in the knowledge that he has strong-minded men around him, Kolisi's main focus as skipper has been his own performance.

"When it was announced I was very nervous. Being captain of South African and being captain of the union are two different things," he said.

"You’ve got the whole country watching you.

"The coach tried to narrow it down for me and all he cares about is my performance and the effort I put in on the field. My team-mates have supported me and other guys who have led other teams before have taken the pressure off me."

Kolis may have been nervous at first, but it is clear that the captaincy is starting to come more naturally. 

Winning, of course, helps. 

But there is a quiet confidence about the man at the moment that perhaps wasn't as visible ahead of the Ellis Park Test. 

"I have never been so prepared for a Test," he said of the series finale in Cape Town. 

Kick-off at Newlands on Saturday is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux

England

15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Ben Spencer, 23 Denny Solomona 

Read more on:    springboks  |  siya kolisi  |  cape town  |  rugby
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