Francois Louw says Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has done very well to cope with the pressures and expectations that come with the role ahead of the World Cup final.
Kolisi will play his 50th Test – and 20th as Springbok captain – in the final against England in Yokohama on Saturday. He also has the potential of becoming the first black captain to raise the Webb Ellis trophy.
The 28-year-old has spoken this week about adapting to the pressure of leading the Boks as well as about how watching the 2007 final as a child inspired him.
When asked about Kolisi’s leadership, Louw said he was struck by his teammate’s humility and self-awareness, especially when it came to asking for help from the wider Bok leadership group.
‘Siya’s got a lot of weight on his shoulders in terms of the role as captain, with regard to the makeup of our country and our nation – where we’ve come from, where we are right now,’ Louw explained. ‘It’s a role he’s grasped fully. I’ll never forget the first thing he did as captain was to encourage those around him to support him and help him lead.
‘Being self-aware, again, is a fantastic trait of a leader. Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and make sure you surround yourself with people who are wiser than you in areas, and you will succeed.
‘Siya is very aware of that, and he’s led with great example, with great courage,’ Louw added. ‘And he rallies the guys up when necessary. He’ll call on specific players to act on certain areas of the game, and to take leadership and control there.
‘Ultimately, he surrounds himself with a mini-leadership group that really makes his job and his role a whole lot easier. But I think, most importantly, at the end of the day all that matters is that you lead by example in terms of your play, and I think he has been playing fantastic rugby.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 29, 2019
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images