Siya Kolisi might enjoy a big profile off the field, but Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee has insisted that they signed the Springbok captain on a three-year deal because of what a big asset the World Cup winning loose forward will be on the field.
The uncharitable have suggested Kolisi’s move from Western Province to Durban has more to do with building publicity for the massive equity stake invested in the Sharks by MVM Holdings, of which Roc Nation, Kolisi’s publicists, have a stake. But Coetzee said it was Kolisi the player they were interested in.
“We started building something special here two years ago and today, announcing Siya is joining us, is an important step in the right direction,” said Coetzee at Kings Park on Wednesday.
“Negotiations did not take that long because when a player of his standing comes on the market you’ve got to move quickly. Siya ticks all the boxes – he is an amazing human being, the best captain in world rugby and an unbelievable player.
“We didn’t sign him here because of Roc Nation, although from a business strategy point of view it does make sense,” added Coetzee.
“They are his commercial agents, they’re not dealing with him as a rugby player. Siya would still be sitting here today even if he was not with Roc Nation. We were waiting patiently for him to come on the market and when he did not accept the Western Province offer, it took just a matter of weeks for us to agree terms.”
Kolisi, who is undeniably a hugely inspirational figure in South African society, said his focus in Durban will be very much on fighting his way back into top form, into the Sharks team and then ensuring that he keeps his place in the Springbok side.
“It feels like my first day in school, I’m starting fresh and I know I have to fight again, I have the same feeling as when I was a young man in Cape Town knowing I had to perform,” Kolisi said.