‘I can’t believe what we’ve achieved,’ says Kolisi as he thanks coaching team
Kolisi and his charges became the second ever captain and team to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi lets out a roar in celebration after the Boks beat the All Blacks in the World Cup final on Saturday night. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
Double Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi says that from where he started out in life he would never have dreamed about where he currently is and to have achieved what he has, after the Springboks clinched back to back World Cups with a 12-11 win over the All Blacks on Saturday night.
In an incredibly intense grand finale at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, the Boks survived a second half fightback from a 14-man All Blacks side to become the first side to ever lift the Webb Ellis Cup on four occasions.
Kolisi and his charges also became the second ever captain and team to go back to back after Richie McCaw and the All Blacks did it in 2011 and 2015.
When the Bok management took charge of the team in 2018 the squad were in disarray and SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and coach Jacques Nienaber said they were targeting the World Cup in France as their ultimate goal, with the win in Japan in 2019 a massive bonus of sorts.
“At the last World Cup the country was hopeful that maybe there was a chance we could win it and what transpired afterwards was the belief in this team,” explained Kolisi on Saturday after the win in Paris.
“There are not a lot of things going right in our country and we have the privilege to be able to do what we love and inspire people in life, not just sports people.
“Where I come from I couldn’t dream I could be here today. We come from different walks of life. I had my own goals and ambitions.
“I want to look after my family and I want to give back to my community. You need to come and see South Africa to understand. When we come together nothing can stop us, not just in sport but also in life.”
End of the road
It is the end of the road for the current Bok coaching group, with Nienaber heading off to Irish giants Leinster as their head coach, while assistant coach Felix Jones will be joining England, and Kolisi was emotional in giving his thanks to his mentor.
“It hasn’t been an easy journey. I can’t believe what we’ve achieved today. The coaching staff have been ridiculous. I have worked with Jacques since I was 17 years old,” said Kolisi.
“I couldn’t tackle. When he and Rassie used to come to training it was full contact. You had to show that you could do this.
“Jacques, honestly, it’s been a huge honour for me and a huge privilege, and your wife and the kids… I appreciate you. We love you as a team, not as a coach, but as a person.
“You’ve taken it to another level. The way you speak to us – it’s not ‘make a big hit, make a tackle’, you talk to me as a person, as a father, a husband, as a son, it goes such a long way so thank you. We honour you as a team. All the best. They will be lucky to have you wherever you go.”