It’s hard to argue that anyone has had a better year of rugby than Siya Kolisi. After making history as South Africa’s first-ever black captain, he went on to lead the Springboks to their third RWC title. Now Rugby World Magazine has placed him at the top of their “most influential” list.
Admittedly, South Africa’s road to the Rugby World Cup was strewn with obstacles, many beyond the players’ control.
“We have so many problems in our country. But to have a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races and we came together with one goal,” said Kolisi.
By embracing these differences, Kolisi inspired his team to victory in Japan. Beyond that, he undoubtedly achieved another of his goals in inspiring the youth back home.
“All I want to do is just want to inspire my kids and every other kid in South Africa and I hope they are proud. When they are looking for a role model I want them to look at me.
“I never thought this would happen at all. When I was a kid, all I was thinking about was getting my next meal. There are so many people in SA who just need an opportunity – I got my opportunity and I took it with both hands. There so many stories that have been told like this in South Africa.”
It was fellow South African Nelson Mandela who once said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does”. This is exactly how Kolisi has been living out his rugby and captaincy.
Like Mandela, his influence has the power to go well-beyond.
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi tops Rugby World magazine’s list of the most influential people in rugby ➡️ https://t.co/OaU8i2R11h pic.twitter.com/lQL4KQqQic
— Rugby World (@Rugbyworldmag) July 6, 2020
Springbok World Cup-winning coach Rassie Erasmus also made the list, at number six.
Here are the top ten in Rugby World magazine’s Most Influential People in Rugby in 2020:
1. Siya Kolisi
2. Bernard Laporte
3. Maro Itoje
4. Warren Gatland
5. Nick Clarry
6. Rassie Erasmus
7. Claude Atcher
8. Eddie Jones
9. Dr Eanna Falvey
10. Katie Sadleir