Kolisi: I have a lot more I want to achieve

Siya Kolisi says there’s no shortage of motivation to reach peak physical condition in order to ensure he can make an impact at the Sharks.

After making the move from the Stormers to the Sharks, Kolisi headed straight into a rigorous conditioning programme aimed at ensuring he would be in the best shape possible to fulfil the loose-forward role envisioned for him.

In the latest SA Rugby magazine, JON CARDINELLI conducted a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Kolisi. The Bok skipper discussed his renewed motivation to realise his on-field rugby goals.

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He laughs when he’s asked what a new and improved version of Siya Kolisi might look like, particularly after a period where he has regularly battled with momentum-disrupting injuries.

‘It’s simple, I just want to get the ball in my hands and run,’ he says. ‘That’s how I made a name for myself at the Stormers all those years ago. I’d like more opportunities to show what I can do as a ball-carrier.

‘Of course, I’ll have to be in peak physical condition to perform that role,’ he continues. ‘The Sharks have made that clear. There’s a strong culture and they set high standards. They don’t care whether or not you’re the Springbok captain, they’ll tell you if you’re not keeping up. I’m enjoying that.’

ALSO READ: ‘It feels like my first day at school’ – Kolisi

When Kolisi arrived in Durban, Sharks coach Sean Everitt expressed his appreciation for what the Boks had done for the country at the 2019 World Cup. At the same time, he made it clear he would judge Kolisi by his performances on the field.

‘We put a plan in place to get me ready,’ says Kolisi. ‘Jimmy Wright [the Sharks biokineticist] and the conditioning team pushed me hard and encouraged me to embrace a new philosophy. Conditioning is not about physical work, it’s about a healthier lifestyle.

‘I’ve been working closely with a dietician and eating a lot better. It also hasn’t hurt that my brother-in-law Joel [who Kolisi has been staying with] is a chef. We eat very well at home.’

The Sharks will compete in the Rainbow Cup before turning their attention to the new PRO16 tournament – which is due to start in September. The Boks, of course, won’t be looking any further than the Test series against the British & Irish Lions in July and August.

Having been granted an extensive opportunity to prepare, Kolisi is confident his body will be up to the challenge.

‘I have a lot more I want to achieve as a rugby player. There is no shortage of motivation.

‘A lot of doors have opened for me since we won the World Cup,’ he adds. ‘Those doors might close if I don’t perform. There’s plenty at stake.’

*This article is a snippet from a full-length feature in the latest SA Rugby magazine, which is now on sale

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Craig Lewis