Siya Kolisi ties the knot

Rugby player Siya Kolisi and Rachel tie the knot Picture: Justin Davis
Rugby player Siya Kolisi and Rachel tie the knot Picture: Justin Davis

After four years of romance, Bok flank Siya Kolisi and his fiancée Rachel tied the knot in a Cape vineyard

On crutches, Springbok flank Siya Kolisi hobbled and joked while dancing with his new bride, Rachel, after they tied the knot at an A-list Boland wedding in the Western Cape last Saturday.

Amid vineyards and oak trees at Molenvliet Wine estate near Stellenbosch, Rachel (26) and Siya (25) glowed while opening the dance floor to Michael Bublé’s A Song For You.

Guests who looked on as the couple swayed under a massive crystal chandelier included fellow rugby star Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and his wife, Kuziva Makore.

“Of course, Siya is still on crutches, which made our first dance very creative,” Rachel told City Press this week.

“Being the joker he is, he actually threw the crutches away while we were dancing. It was extremely amusing.”

Siya injured his ankle during a Super Rugby quarterfinal clash at Newlands last month.

Earlier, the pair’s son, Nicholas (2), looked on as his parents exchanged vows.

Siya was very emotional while I was walking down the aisle, as was I. He described it as like seeing me for the first time again
Rachel

Rachel was radiant in a fitted Chantilly lace bodice and tulle gown by Habits founder Jenny le Roux, while Siya donned a midnight-blue suit with a black silk bow tie. The bride walked down the aisle holding a pink-and-white rose bouquet with orchids.

“Siya was very emotional while I was walking down the aisle, as was I. He described it as like seeing me for the first time again,” Rachel said.

“I was a bit teary during our vows, as was everyone else in the room. Siya managed to hold it together.”

The pair were married by Pastor Phil Dooley of the Hillsong Church in Cape Town.

Another witness at the black-tie wedding was Michele Burger, wife of rugby sporting hero Schalk. She wished the couple well in an online post: “Mr and Mrs Kolisi. So proud of these two – thank you for sharing your magical journey with us.”

Love is in the air for Siya Kolisi and Rachel Smith. Picture: Justin Davis

Both hail from the Eastern Cape: Rachel from Grahamstown and Siya from Zwide township in Port Elizabeth. They fell in love four years ago, after meeting at a dinner party in Stellenbosch.

Siya’s childhood was tough, but relentlessly practising rugby paid off. At the age of 12, he was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Port Elizabeth school Grey Junior and later to Grey High School.

Two years ago, Rachel and Siya took custody of his half-siblings, Liyema (14) and Liphelo (9), who were living in Port Elizabeth. The five-member family now lives in the Cape Town suburb of Pinelands. Rachel is a marketing executive turned full-time mother.

The wedding took place on Liphelo’s ninth birthday – and guests paused to sing to the youngster, who wore a white lace dress.

“They both [Liyema and Liphelo] ripped up the dance floor. There was a huge circle around them while they were dancing,” said Rachel.

“Nic was so overwhelmed by having so many people around that, unfortunately, he left early. But he looked extremely handsome in his little suit.”

Siya Kolisi and Rachel Smith on the dance floor after taking their vows. Picture: Justin Davies

Rachel had five bridesmaids, including her sisters Tabitha, Hannah and Sarah; and Siya’s seven best men included the rugby players Nick Holton, Eben Etzebeth, Nizaam Carr, Scarra Ntubeni and Sam Lane.

Fullback Cheslin Kolbe, a member of the SA Sevens team that just clinched bronze at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – and who is a cousin of gold medal winner Wayde van Niekerk – was supposed to be Siya’s eighth best man, but could not make the wedding because of Olympic commitments.

Yesterday, the couple jetted off to Zimbabwe for a short honeymoon. “We are going to Victoria Falls. We are extremely excited. We have a dream to travel to all the African countries. Our honeymoon is a good start,” Rachel said.

They plan to have a traditional wedding in the Eastern Cape soon.

On their wedding website, Siya recounts courting Rachel: “I knew I liked her and had to tell her. It was scary ... She played hard to get in the beginning, but eventually admitted it as well. The rest is history. We have a beautiful family and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.”

The in love couple on their wedding day. Picture: Picture: Justin Davis

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