Springbok rugby takes another big step

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As the first black captain of the side, flanker Siya Kolisi (pictured with Duane Vermeulen) would complete a remarkable journey for the South African game. Even in making the final he has achieved a memorable feat but lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy for the third time for the Springboks would be outstanding.


Kolisi was appointed captain in 2018 and since then he has seen the All Blacks beaten on their home turf in Wellington and while injury prevented him taking part he was able to watch on as they achieved a draw this year en route to South Africa's claiming the Rugby Championship.


He had to come back from injury to make the World Cup side, and it proved a close run thing.


Fellow loose forward Francois Louw talked of the burden on Kolisi.


"Siya's got a lot of weight on his shoulders in terms of the role as captain, with regards to the make-up of our country and our nation – where we've come from, where we are right now," he said.


"It's a role he's grasped fully.


"I'll never forget the first thing he did as captain was encourage those around him to support him and help him lead," he said.


Players like Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Handre Pollard, Schalk Brits, Elton Jantjies and Louw, had all been part of the leadership group.


Kolisi had also shown the ability to understand when he was substituted in games, something that wasn't always easy to accept, Louw said.


"Being self-aware, again, is a fantastic trait of a leader.


"Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and make sure you surround yourself with people who are wiser than you in areas, and you will succeed.


"Siya is very aware of that, and he's led with great example, with great courage.


"And he rallies the guys up when necessary. He'll call on specific players to act on certain areas of the game, and to take leadership and control there," Louw said.


"But, I think most importantly, at the end of the day, all that matters is that you lead by example in terms of your play, and I think he has been playing fantastic rugby."


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