March 5, 2024

Francois Pienaar says Siya Kolisi is probably best Bok captain ever

PARIS – Former Rugby World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar says Siya Kolisi (pictured above with former All Black flyhalf Dan Carter) is probably the best Springbok captain in history.

 

Pienaar who led the Rainbow Nation to Rugby World Cup victory for the first time in 1995, made this statement on the red carpet at the World Rugby Awards on Sunday evening.

Kolisi made history by leading South Africa to World Cup glory for a second consecutive time after edging New Zealand 12-11 in an epic final at Stade de France on Saturday night. The 32-year-old from Zwide in the Eastern Cape also skippered the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2019 in Yokohama in Japan.

“Unbelievable! Siya is such an incredible human being, and he has taken these opportunities to become probably the best South Africa captain in the history of South African rugby,” Pienaar said after being asked what Kolisi has achieved.

“Incredible how he plays, how he talks and how much he cares for rugby and for the people, and for South Africa.”

Another Rugby World Cup winning captain, John Eales, from Australia said it was quite amazing that there have been two World Cup-winning captains in the last four Rugby World Cups.

Eales said Kolisi and his team did it the hard way in many respects, winning by one point in each of those knock-out games in France.

“I remember watching that game (RWC final) from home back in 1995 as South Africa took on the All Blacks in the final at Ellis Park, and understanding what that win did for the country, and when John Smit lifted the trophy, when Siya has lifted it, you know that it will have a massive effect in South Africa.

“And you’ve got to be happy about that, when a team is playing for themselves and their families, but also playing for their nation. It’s so apparent with the Springboks with what they have, and you can feel how that was driving them on.”

The Australian lock forward believes the Rugby World Cup 2023 would do a lot for the development of the game globally.

“The Rugby World Cup is about the top end, and we saw an unbelievably intense final yesterday, but it also has to be about all other levels of the game as well and when you see things like Portugal at the airport (returning to a heroes’ welcome) and them winning that game against Fiji, you realise how much potential our game has got to touch so many people on such a broad scale.”

Pic: World Rugby

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