BEYOND SPORTS – Siya Kolisi Feature focus

When South Africa took the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, it put an exclamation mark on captain Siya Kolisi’s inspirational tale of hard work, leadership, and unity.

In brief:

When Siya Kolisi led South Africa against England in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Yokohama, Japan, they weren’t expected to win. Their English opponents had demolished the tournament favourites, the All Blacks, in their semi-final and seemed to have all the momentum.However, that momentum dissipated over the course of the next 80 minutes as the English attack hit the immovable object of Kolisi and his tightly-marshalled team-mates.The Springboks ran out convincing winners by a score of 32-12 and Kolisi became the first black test captain to lift the World Cup for South Africa.

Life of purpose: – Bigger than self

As inspiring as the performance was, there’s a wider picture to consider that really makes it stand out. In a country with a history as complex as South Africa’s, the symbolism of a multiracial, multicultural team working together to reach the pinnacle of their sport, achieving success through teamwork that made them greater than the sum of their parts was never going to be missed.The fact that they had a captain as statesmanlike as Kolisi only amplified the sense that the victory had been a real force for good in South African society.“In the townships and the suburbs, you now see people running and playing together, and young black kids with a picture of [white lock forward] Eben [Etzebeth] saying, ‘I want to be like you one day’, and that’s exactly what we are playing for,” he observed. “We achieved it a little bit and now we need to maintain it. Winning the World Cup is not just for us to gain personally, but to help people in the community.”

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