Siya Kolisi named 'most influential person in rugby'

07 July 2020 - 14:59 By Liam Del Carme
Siya Kolisi and his wife, Rachel pose for a photograph in Cape Town.
Siya Kolisi and his wife, Rachel pose for a photograph in Cape Town.
Image: Instagram/Siya Kolisi

Siya Kolisi has been named the most influential person in rugby in 2020 according to Rugby World Magazine.

The respected publication had the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup-winning coach Rassie Erasmus sixth on their list of 50 movers and shakers in the sport.

Kolisi who captained the Springboks to World Cup glory in Japan last year has been feted in the months following the team’s stunning success. Kolisi has become the face of the team that has shown steady progress over the last two years culminating in him lifting of the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama in November last year.

The publication also noted Kolisi‚ who is South Africa’s first black captain‚ “has been working tirelessly with his foundation to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The publication added: “Kolisi has recognised the significance of that sporting moment and has since proved an inspiration off the field as well as on it. He is a role-model in all senses – and adds the title of the most influential person in rugby to a growing list of accolades.”

The magazine got some heavy hitters to arrive at their final list. “’Kolisi is definitely the most influential man in rugby at the moment. He’s also probably the most visionary and the most courageous’‚” writes Rugby World columnist Stephen Jones in the August 2020 edition.

“Kolisi appreciates the power of rugby‚ and has the standing and authority and intelligence to be a statesman as well‚ to know exactly what he is saying and why it means everything. You also get the impression for this great man that he is saying exactly what he believes‚ with no gilding of his words for anyone’s consumption.”

The process of naming the most influential person in the sport proved exhaustive with more than 120 people canvassed on the topic.

The only other player to make the top 10 is England lock Maro Itoje‚ who is third‚ while newly elected World Rugby vice-chairman and French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte ranked second.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux is 15th on the list‚ while Jacques Nienaber‚ who was Springbok defence coach at last year’s World Cup but has since become the team’s head coach‚ is 43rd.

Rugby World Magazine’s top 10 most influential people in rugby are:

1. Siya Kolisi

2. Bernard Laporte

3. Maro Itoje

4. Warren Gatland

5. Nick Clarry

6. Rassie Erasmus

7. Claude Atcher

8. Eddie Jones

9. Dr Eanna Falvey

10. Katie Sadleir