Springboks captain Siya Kolisi is one of the most recognisable names in world rugby, having guided his country to Rugby World Cup glory in 2019.
Four years later, the Bok skipper continues to capture the hearts of fans in South Africa and around the world.
Coming from humble beginnings, Kolisi wears his heart on his sleeve on and off the pitch, with his latest viral moment coming during a press conference where he passionately defended one of his teammates.
After the Springboks opened their William Webb Ellis title defence, head coach Jacques Nienaber was asked about fly-half Manie Libbok’s goal-kicking display after he missed three shots at goal in the 18-3 victory over Scotland.
Siya Kolisi defends Manie Libbok
When asked if it was a concern, Nienaber was swift and to the point, simply replying, “Not if he wins Man of the Match.”
The question was not put to Kolisi, but he interjected later on in the conference to defend his teammate.
“This question about missing kicks gets asked a lot, but we play as a team,” he said. “Sometimes, you are not good at one thing on the day, but the way he attacked today and, how he took control and how he was a general amongst us. There are other guys who can kick.
“He is not going to be good at everything every single day. We are working as a group.”
The clip of Kolisi’s speech has gone viral across all social media platforms, with fans left in awe by the Bok captain’s leadership.
🇿🇦 Siya Kolisi taking the lead off the pitch, too!
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) September 11, 2023
Former Leicester Tigers and Gloucester lock Ed Slater reacted on X, formerly known as Twitter, posting “I cannot like this enough. So brilliantly put Siya Kolisi.”
Another fan said that Kolisi was giving the captaincy title a whole new meaning.
“Don’t know how many times I’ve watched this. Siya having to step in after a profound response from Jacque, made me sense some frustration from the captain, same question after every game, Yho hay. Well done for giving the term “captain” a new revamped meaning,” they wrote.
Siya for president
Another suggested that it was not time for South African president Cyril Ramaposa to make way for the Bok skipper to take over as leader of the Republic.
“I’ve seen enough, Ramaphosa out! Siya in,” the post read.
South Africa face Ireland in their penultimate Pool B clash and even their fans couldn’t help but be inspired by Kolisi.
One fan wrote: “Stupid inspirational Siya, why does he have to be so bloody great”
There were several other responses along the lines of “Outstanding answer” and “true leader”.
One read: “An example of true leadership. Siya Kolisi epitomises everything good about rugby and it’s values. Such a humble and respectful guy. Leads by example and is one of the most likeable people if not the most likeable person in world rugby.”
Shades of Rugby Podcast hailed Kolisi for being open and honest when he really didn’t need to be.
“When one of your players is criticised, you don’t necessarily need to double down or change the subject in a media-trained way. Answer honestly. What a response…The kind of guy you’d run through brick walls for,” their post read.
While some couldn’t help but crush over South Africa’s skipper.
John Hartley: “I’ve got such a huge man-crush on Siya Kolisi, it’s really quite embarrassing.”
Kolisi’s commitment to showing his gratitude for Springbok fans is another aspect that typifies his leadership, as seen after the Scotland Test.
Siya Kolisi on a one-man lap of the stadium, jumping the hoardings, having selfies, saying thank you. He’ll be South Africa’s president one day. Extraordinary man. pic.twitter.com/L0fSmd8EX7
— Nick Mullins (@andNickMullins) September 10, 2023
The Springboks are back in action on Sunday, September 17, when they take on Romania in their second match of the tournament.