Springboks captain Siya Kolisi reveals what he said to Cheslin Kolbe after the Rugby World Cup final

Jared Wright
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and Cheslin Kolbe embrace after the 2023 Rugby World Cup victory over New Zealand

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and Cheslin Kolbe embrace after the 2023 Rugby World Cup victory over New Zealand.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has revealed what he said to teammate Cheslin Kolbe after the final whistle of the 2023 Rugby World Cup final.

Kolisi and Kolbe were both on the sidelines when Wayne Barnes blew his whistle to signal the end of the match, the former after being substituted and the latter for a yellow card.

Kolbe was in tears in the sin bin and couldn’t bear to watch the latter stages of the match, and once the game was over, Kolisi quickly embraced the winger in celebration and to console him.

Fans and spectators applauded the Bok skipper’s actions at the time, and he was captured speaking to the winger, who was concerned that he cost South Africa the match.

What Kolisi told Kolbe

Kolisi had also been yellow carded earlier in the match and understood how his teammate felt in the final moments of the game and has now revealed what he said to Kolbe.

“I just told him that I love him,” the Bok captain told the The Big Jim Show.

“I knew what was going through his head, he couldn’t watch that last bit and it was the same while I was sitting there as well (in the sin bin) when I got the yellow card.

“I just remember telling him I love him, I’m so proud of him, how happy I was and all he did was cry. It’s so crazy, the last World Cup final (2019) I ran to him first as well. I ran, and he was the first person that I gave a hug too.”

Kolisi on his sin binning

During the final, All Blacks captain Sam Cane was yellow carded for his high tackle on Jesse Kriel. The incident was sent to be reviewed by the Foul Play Review Officer. Upon review, his yellow card was upgraded to a red, ending his involvement in the showpiece event.

Kolisi faced a similar fate in the second half when he tackled Ardie Savea, resulting in a yellow card and a review.

Jim Hamilton asked whether Kolisi was concerned that he would also be red carded for his tackle.

“I wasn’t, I will tell you honestly,” Kolisi said.

“I hit him on the chest, it was the follow through (that connected with his head). It wasn’t direct, I know my rules.”

South Africa would go on to win the final 12-11, becoming just the second team to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups, after the All Blacks.

In doing so, Kolisi also joined Richie McCaw as the only captains who have defended their titles and lifted the William Webb Ellis Cup twice.

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