Kolisi: Being Springbok captain was lonely
In his review, Siya Kolisi says it was a tough year and he felt the job of captaincy was ‘lonely’ because he had to take tough decisions.
JOHANNESBURG - With the international rugby season now done and dusted, the first ever Black African Springbok captain Siya Kolisi gave an honest review of how the season went as Bok captain.
The announcement by coach Rassie Erasmus that Kolisi would lead the Springboks in 2018 might have come as a surprise to some rugby fans in the country but for a large majority, it was a welcomed change from the tradition of white players donning the captain’s armband for the Boks.
In his first season as national captain, Kolisi led the Boks to seven wins from their 14 Tests while he was at the helm of one of the team’s greatest ever victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in nine years in Wellington.
The Boks under Kolisi and Erasmus’ leadership arguably restored some respectability that was lost in a horrible two years under Alistair Coetzee in 2016 and 2017.
In his review, Kolisi says it was a tough year and he felt the job of captaincy was ‘lonely’ because he had to take tough decisions.
“It’s lonely being captain. I learnt to make hard decisions and it is still something that I still need to get better at. I was still getting into it this year and hopefully, if I get another opportunity next year I can use a lot of the stuff that I learnt this year. I had to take a lot of control as Bok captain which even meant telling some of my close mates in the team tough things and it felt a little lonely.”
Kolisi also conceded that his own game wasn’t up to standard during the Boks’ first assignment of the year in the in-bound tour against England in June, which forced him to work harder before the start of the Rugby Championship.
“At the beginning of my captaincy, I didn’t play well. Looking at my game during the June Internationals against England and the Rugby Championship, I wasn’t good in June and I don’t think I was fit enough. June was a lot for me and I thought I was handling it well, but I struggled with my game.”
The 27-year-old also says he isn’t too phased if he would relinquish the armband next season, with many speculating that Duane Vermeulen will lead the Boks in the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.
“To be honest, I don’t wake up and say I want to be Springbok captain. Being a Springbok is enough for me and being Springbok captain is just a bonus for me and if I don’t have the opportunity next year but be in the team, that would be enough for me.”
The Springboks will play in a condensed Rugby Championship in 2019 before they begin their Rugby World Cup preparations.