In the final part of our exclusive interview with Siya Kolisi, the Springbok captain discusses working with Rassie Erasmus and the evolving role of rugby players.
In a snippet from the latest SA Rugby magazine, Siya and wife Rachel chatted to JON CARDINELLI about the inspiring work of the Kolisi Foundation and important issues in South Africa they are passionately tackling.
On the rugby front, Kolisi has made a complete recovery from the serious knee injury that sidelined him earlier this year. Given the opportunity, he will strive to regain his form in the coming matches and be at his best when the British & Irish Lions tour in July 2021.
He will not forget about the foundation and its quest to change South Africa for the better in the short and long term though. Some professional athletes might view a task as big as this as a distraction. Kolisi, however, continues to draw energy from the individuals who face these challenges.
‘I see it as my responsibility to get stuck in and help, but also to encourage others to do more. We need to get rid of this mindset that we are just rugby players. We can be so much more.
‘The celebrities in South Africa can do so much more. Any member of the public could chip in with an extra can of food or two. You don’t have to have struggled in your life to recognise the crisis, or to want to help. We’re all human beings and we need to take better care of one another.’
*The Kolisi Foundation initiatives and projects can be followed on social media, while to donate, visit www.kolisifoundation.org
Does he feel that this experience has made him a better captain? It may seem a trivial question in the grand scheme of things, but Kolisi may well take what he’s learned in recent months and transfer it to the rugby pitch.
‘I’ve learned so much from Rassie Erasmus in terms of how to get the best out of my teammates. I’ve picked up so much from the way he speaks and the way he goes about things. He gave us a plan and he made us believe it. We came together in pursuit of one goal and we won the World Cup.
‘I’ve grown so much off the field. Again, I have to make it clear that it’s not about me. Some people ask me how I stay humble. It’s because I believe I’m doing God’s work. I also have good people around me who keep me in check. You’re never bigger than the game. You’re never bigger the team. There are always other people who need your help. There is always a job to do.’
It’s an attitude that will go a long way toward making South Africa a better place.
*The full version of this article can be found in the latest SA Rugby magazine.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo/Getty Images