Top five Siya Kolisi moments

Siya Kolisi runs at Wales' defence at the World Cup with RG Snyman in the background

While the Springboks embark on their nationwide victory tour following their World Cup triumph on Saturday, we look back at five of the best moments from the career of South Africa’s third World Cup-winning captain, Siya Kolisi.

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Sensational Springbok debut

The term “dream debut” is one that is thrown around far too often in sport, but Kolisi’s inaugural appearance in the green and gold is unquestionably worthy of that title. Initially named to start on the bench for South Africa’s 2013 Test against Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium, a fourth-minute injury to Arno Botha saw the then 22-year-old thrust into the red-hot cauldron of Test rugby a helluva lot sooner than he would have anticipated on the day. Many men would have been flustered. But not this one. The industrious flanker ended up having an absolute blinder and walked away with the Man of the Match award. Indeed, he’s been a mainstay in the Bok side ever since.

That sidestep

Back in 2016, with his Stormers side trailing the Lions by eight-points with just over a quarter to go, Kolisi accepted a pass from Nic Groom inside the Lions’ twenty-two following a sharp break from the visitors. With just Elton Jantjies to beat, the electric loose forward displayed some dazzling footwork to leave the Lions flyhalf utterly bamboozled on his way to finishing off what was a scintillating score. While the Lions did have the last laugh, winning 29-22 with Jantjies ending up Man of the Match, Kolisi’s try remains the outstanding memory from that Super Rugby encounter.



First Test as Bok skipper

Last year saw the introduction of Rassie Erasmus as Bok coach, and it wasn’t long before the former flanker named another loose forward in Kolisi to take over as his captain ahead of their June Test series against England. While Pieter-Steph du Toit led a Bok “B-team” against Wales in a rather forgettable warm-up clash in Washington the week before, it was his Stormers teammate who ran out first in the opening Test against the English in Johannesburg... to positively rapturous applause. In so doing, Kolisi became the first black man to captain the Boks as he guided them to a memorable 42-39 win before going on to clinch the series 2-1.



The Wellington win

This was the moment the current Bok side realized they could go on to conquer the world. Rassie recently revealed that, had the Boks failed to beat New Zealand in Wellington in the Rugby Championship last year, he would have resigned. His men were coming off consecutive defeats to Argentina and Australia, and Erasmus felt his results at the helm were simply unbefitting of a Springbok coach. But beat them they did, for the first time on Kiwi soil since 2009, marking a turning point for Kolisi and his soldiers. Only a select few Bok captains can claim to have won on All Black terrain, but Kolisi is one of them. Not too bad for a man from Zwide.



The World Cup win

The image of Kolisi lifting the William Webb Ellis Cup will forever be etched into the annals of South African sporting history. As has been written more times than I could count over the past several days, nobody would have given the Boks a hope in hell of winning in Japan 18-months ago following several record defeats in 2016 and 2017. And yet, Kolisi and co. now reign supreme as champions of the world - and will do so for the next four years. In a sporting sense, it simply boggles the brain trying to comprehend what this side has managed to achieve in such a short space of time.



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