‘Loved and adored’ Springboks captain Siya Kolisi named on 100 most influential list

Jared Wright
Springboks Siya Kolisi takes a selfie with fans.

Siya Kolisi of South Africa takes a selfie with fans after the International match South Africa vs New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium.

Double Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has been named in TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2024.

Kolisi features on the list after captaining South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory in France last year defeating New Zealand 11-12 in the final.

The 32-year-old is named among the “Innovators” on Time’s 100 list, which serves to highlight the world’s most influential people each year.

“Embodiment of hope”

His inclusion adds to his legendary status after becoming just the second player to skipper his country to back-to-back World Cup titles, following All Blacks great Richie McCaw.

“These are the people who we believe most changed the stories that define the past year,” Time said in their reasoning for selecting their list.

Kolisi has played 83 times for the Springboks and has captained the side on 53 occasions after becoming the first black player to lead South Africa in a Test match in 2017 against England.

“He’s been the embodiment of hope during a time in which many South Africans find it hard to hold on to any. Through political strife, an energy crisis, and the effects of COVID-19, Siya has made rugby into something more than just a competition. His multiple victories—the country’s victories—have meant so much,” South African comedian Trevor Noah wrote in the Time list.

“Through his wisdom and humility, Siya has taught us what a powerful captain should be: someone who serves and inspires those he leads. And for him to lead a team in a historically white sport, to be loved and adored by fans of all races, is an immense achievement.

“Siya is an incessant warrior on the field, but he’s also a doting dad, a loving husband, and a great friend. He’s given so much to a nation of 62 million people. I hope he’s been savoring every moment of his success.”

Quiz: Can you name every Springboks captain since 1995?

Captaincy doubts

The Time list also includes sports stars like Patrick Mahomes, Max Verstappen, Jenni Hermoso, and A’ja Wilson.

Following the Rugby World Cup in France, Kolisi made the move to Top 14 club Racing 92 has raised doubts around his future as the captain of the Springboks.

Head coach Rassie Erasmus has explained that he prefers that his captain be locally based but is open to making an exception for the inspirational leader.

READ MORE: Eben Etzebeth addresses Springboks captaincy amid doubt over Siya Kolisi’s role