Springboks: Siya Kolisi puts a timeline on his retirement and what he wants to do next

Jared Wright
Racing 92 star Siya Kolisi looks on.

Racing 92 star Siya Kolisi looks on.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has revealed his plans for his post-rugby career and immediate future with Racing 92.

After guiding South Africa to back-to-back World Cup titles, Kolisi is entering the latter stages of his career, and the 32-year-old already has plans for his retirement.

The 83-Test cap flanker has taken on advice from former England and Manchester United midfielder David Beckham, who explained to the Bok captain that he should be planning for life after sport at least eight years before his retirement.

Siya Kolisi’s retirement timeline

An inspirational figure in rugby, many have suggested a career in politics for Kolisi, which he has shied away from several times, and while he has no immediate plans to hang up his boots, he does have an idea about what he wants to do and achieve after his playing days come to a close.

“I’ve signed for three seasons (at Racing), so we’ll see how that goes. I still want to play for another five years if the body is still good,” Kolisi said on the Behind the Ruck Podcast with former Springboks Juan de Jongh and Rudy Paige.

“I will then come back home, and I want to work for the foundation, that’s the number one, the most important thing.

“The foundation is mine and Rachel’s [his wife] – the Kolisi Foundation. We started after the 2019 World Cup. During Covid, we started with food donations and PPC because public hospitals and public clinics were the last people to get it. We bought PPC for them, sanitisers, gloves and all the stuff so they can help people.

“We also needed to help people stay at home. I knew coming from the township [Zwide], when I was hungry, I would go out and ask my neighbour, so I thought, ‘Okay, let’s donate food.’

“We couldn’t do a lot, it was only 500, but we donated for three months. The meals were enough, or the grocery was enough; it could fill six people for a month. I know how it is in the community, we always share.”

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What ‘drives’ him and the Springboks

Kolisi has often spoken about his upbringing and how his struggles drove him to become a success.

It has also taught him to be resilient, with his rapid recovery from a knee injury that threatened his World Cup involvement, being a perfect example of his dedication.

“People grow up in the townships, it’s poor, but the stuff that you learn there, ubuntu, I learned all of that there, people are resilient,” he added.

“They say people are lazy in the townships, but I grew up in a place where my uncles, my dad, my grandfather, they used to wake up at four in the morning, go stand on the side of the highway to wait for someone to pick them up so they can cut their grass or do any kind of work.

“The hard work and the resilience, that all comes from there, and also not complaining when you don’t have stuff, and using what you have around you. That’s who we are as South Africans.

“That’s why when the pressure moments come, that’s easy, it’s a game. We get pressure moments every single day, and I think that’s what drives us as a group because we know what people are going through.

“Me coming from that kind of background…when I was there, I was just thinking about survival, making it through the day, getting a meal for that day, but now people can look at us and you know what, ‘I can start dreaming about becoming Springbok captain, I can start dreaming of winning a World Cup because they’ve done it.'”

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