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The inspiration behind Kolisi's success

EXCLUSIVE: Springbok captain Siya Kolisi grew up watching the late Solomzi “Solly” Tyibilika in Zwide and was motivated by the ex-Springbok to be an inspiration to that area.


There is a famous picture of a young Kolisi getting an autograph from Schalk Burger, but it is Burger’s off-field character that has inspired the Springbok captain to give back to his junior school and club in Port Elizabeth.

“I watched Solly [Tyibilika] when I was in junior school, so I would go and watch him and coach [Mzwandile] Stick. I always looked up to him [Tyibilika] for the way he played and then I got to play with Schalk [Burger]. The person he [Burger] is what inspires me the most,” Kolisi said.

“You can be as good of a rugby player as you want but if you are not a good person and set an example off the field…

“I try to inspire in what I do. With the platform that I have, I try to use that by helping younger kids in the township I grew up in. That’s why I give back to my club and my school. We used to play with one jersey in three different teams and you would swap over with the next guy coming on, that’s why I set my goal of giving them jerseys every year.

“That is stuff that we, as people, don’t see but for me I was fortunate enough to grow up in that environment and it’s easy for me to give back. The easiest thing is to give money and leave, you don’t even know where the money is going.


“So I prefer going to my school, asking what they need and giving it to them and that’s where I wish a lot of players would get to. That warms up your heart more than anything else and at the same time, it pushes me to perform because I know without me performing, I can’t be helping other people,” Kolisi added.

Watch what Siya Kolisi has to say about his heroes and more below:

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