VIDEO: What the OIG and Hot Stepper are up to
He is formally called Siyamthanda Kolisi OIG.
However, to the world, he is just ‘Siya’.
Kolisi, who was awarded South Africa’s Order of Ikhamanga gold in 2023, for his ‘exceptional achievements’ of leading his country in back-to-back World Cup victories, is one of several high-profile names on the books of Roc Nation Sports International.
Alongside fellow two-time World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe, they are two of the most iconic sports figures in the world.
Both have moved on to new ventures since the Springboks’ historic 12-11 win over the All Black at Stade de France in Paris in October last year.
Kolisi joined Paris-based French club Racing 92 and Kolbe moved from Toulon in France to the Tokyo-based Sungoliath team in Japan.
Michael Yormark, President of Roc Nation Sports International and the man behind these moves, spoke at length about the advantages of the two idols moving their families into new environments.
It has also had an impact on their careers.
Settling into life in France has been a breeze for the Kolisis – Siya, wife Rachel and the children.
“There are different languages and cultures,” Yormark told @rugby365com, adding: “However, they are very adaptable.”
On the playing field, Kolisi has grown into his role as a starting flank, wearing the Racing No.7 jersey.
In his eight appearances he played the full 80 minutes in five and in only two matches did he come off before the hour mark – his debut against Stade Rochelais (a 32-10 win for Racing in November) and the (15-31) loss to Ulster in December.
Kolisi scored his first Racing try in the Champions Cup win over Cardiff this past weekend.
“They have been able to experience different cultures – not just in France, but also outside of France.
“One of the reasons why they made this decision [to move to France] was for the family to spend more time together and they are doing that.
“It has been a terrific experience for all of them.”
(Watch as @king365ed sits down for a ONE-ON-ONE with Michael Yormark, President of Roc Nation Sports International, to talk about two of the most iconic figures in South African sport….)
Yormark described Kolbe’s move to Japan as ‘extraordinary’, having left Toulon with “mixed emotions”.
“When he arrived in Japan, with [his wife] Layla and their [three] children, they were welcomed like superstars,” the Roc Nation Sports International boss told @rugby365com.
Kolbe and his family have embraced the Japanese culture, despite their deep-rooted South African heritage.
“Everything about the experience has been terrific
“Cheslin is the happiest he has ever been in his career. His family is also happy.
“He is in the right place at the right time.
“On a scale of one to 10, it has been a 10,” he said about Kolbe’s move.
Yormark said the ‘issues’ Kolbe had in Toulon were related to the “front office”.
“Everybody loved Cheslin there [in Toulon].
“He is a true professional.
“He is a guy that any organisation would be blessed to have.
“It was time for him to have a new chapter and Japan has been incredible for him.”
Yormark pointed out that any person, not just a sportsman, benefits from ‘broadening their horizons’.
“The more exposure you have to different people, cultures and countries, the more well-rounded you are,” the Roc Nation Sports International boss said.
He ‘relocated’ from the United States to London, to start Roc Nation Sports International.
“I have been able to do things I never thought I would be able to do,” he said.
“I have experienced people, cultures and countries that I never thought I would be able to visit.
“My experience in South Africa – as a result of Siya, Cheslin and other players we represent – has been life-changing for me.
“When you talk about Siya, Cheslin and their families – the ability to explore the world, live in different cultures and see the world is extraordinary.
“It takes a lot of courage to do that.
“You have to get out of your comfort zone, almost get uncomfortable – do something different, but hopefully it is beneficial.
“It is not easy or glamorous, at first, because there is an adjustment, but they will become better people for it.”