'I can’t control what other people think of me‚' says new Springbok captain Kolisi

30 May 2018 - 15:47
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Newly appointed Springboks captain Siya Kolisi during during a training session.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix Newly appointed Springboks captain Siya Kolisi during during a training session.

Siya Kolisi understands that his appointment as the first black African Springboks captain this week has not been welcomed by everyone.

There are some who have not responded positively to his appointment for the three Test matches against England next month but he has decided to focus on things that he has control over.

Speaking publicly for the first time since coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed him as captain for the incoming series against England‚ Kolisi said he is focused on representing South Africa with dignity and honour‚ and rewarding Erasmus for the massive vote of confidence he has shown in him.

“I am sometimes unhappy with other people’s decisions‚ so I can’t focus more on what people say about me‚” he said.

“Things are like that in life sometimes but the most important thing is to work hard on my game so that I can help my country and the coach who has showed so much faith in me.

"To reward coach Rassie is to make sure that I deliver on the pitch.

"I can’t control what other people think of me but I can only control what I can do on the field‚” he said‚ adding that he does not believe that his appointment is political.

“I think it is a genuine appointment by coach Rassie because he is not that kind of a person.

"I have known him since I was 18 years old‚ we sat down and he was straightforward with me and that is how it is.

“You always know where you stand with him.

"The most important thing is that we play and win rugby matches and if I have questions I will ask him.

"At the moment I don’t have any questions because he told me the reason he appointed me.

"Coach Rassie is not a politician and neither am I.

"I am a rugby player and all I want to do is to play well and inspire South Africans for all the races.”

Kolisi said the unexpected announcement has not sunk in yet but it will probably do so when he leads the team out at Ellis Park on June 9.

“I know how much a big deal this thing is for the country and it will take a while to register‚" he said.

"But‚ what is important now is to make everybody and my coach who selected me proud.

"Maybe it will hit me when I run on to the field next week.”