VIDEO: Rassie interviews Siya
South Africa’s Director of Rugby Johan Erasmus made a surprise appearance at Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi’s media briefing.
Kolisi was named SA’s Player of the Year during an awards ceremony on Thursday.
The Springbok captain garnered the most votes for his performances during a tough season.
The 30-year-old Kolisi edged out strong challenges from his national teammates Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth and Makazole Mapimpi to become the first Bok captain since Jean de Villiers in 2013 to win the top award.
In a media briefing hosted on behalf of Kolisi, Erasmus emerged to ask his skipper to give some advice to young players.
Erasmus, who returned in mid-January from his two-month ban handed down by World Rugby, asked Kolisi how players should deal with “negativity” and the “doubters” in the game.
Kolisi clearly enjoyed his boss’ presence at the virtual media event.
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The Bok captain said if players are able to read comments from outside the team – the good and the bad – they should.
“If it [negative comments] is hard for you as a person, you should not do it,” Kolisi said.
However, the 63-times capped Bok, who also captained his country 33 times and took them to World Cup glory in 2019, said any player’s ‘biggest critic’ should always be himself.
“The people you should listen to are your coaching staff and teammates,” he said.
“You know yourself as a player – how hard you work and your preparation. Did you watch enough videos? How hard did you work on the field?
“That is how you should judge yourself as a player.
“That is the most important. Before you start reading that [criticism], you must look at what you have done before you go to [the game on] Saturday.
“Sometimes things don’t work out well and sometimes they don’t.
“You have to be your biggest critic.
“You have to take it on the chin, look at yourself and see what you have done during the week. What could you have done better?
“You have to believe in yourself more than anything.”
He spoke about his loss of form before the World Cup in 2019 and how Erasmus, then the Bok coach, told him to keep on working.
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“Form will always come back, as long as you believe and work as hard as you can.”
Erasmus concluded with a tale about how Kolisi told him that it is the fans’ job to criticise and give opinions.
It was Erasmus’ first appearance after his ban – which was the result of his infamous 62-minute video during the British and Irish Lions tour in July last year.
In the video, he criticised match officials after the first Test between the Springboks and B&I Lions.
The World Cup-winning former Bok coach is still banned from ‘all match-day activities’, including coaching, contact with match officials and media duties until September 30, 2022.