Kolisi 'honoured and nervous' to lead Boks at RWC 2019

Siya Kolisi (Gallo Images)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Captain Siya Kolisi says he is "honoured" and "nervous" to lead the Springboks at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. 

Kolisi was named as captain at Monday's 31-man squad announcement in Johannesburg and fronted up to media with coach Rassie Erasmus afterwards. 

Kolisi did not feature in South Africa's victorious Rugby Championship campaign this year as he was sidelined with a knee injury, but he has now fully recovered and was able to take his place alongside the coach as skipper. 

He will become South Africa's first black captain at a Rugby World Cup, and he was asked what it all meant to him. 

"I'm really honoured," said Kolisi.

"I've known coach (Erasmus) for quite a long time and he gave me my first contract out of school, so I had met him before all of this and he knows where I come from.

"These kinds of opportunities, you don't really dream about."

Kolisi has always been the type of leader who delegates, and he re-emphasised that he would be looking to his peers in Japan. 

The Boks are littered with leadership figures such as Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies and Kolisi acknowledged in Johannesburg that he would be counting on such figures. 

"I'm really happy and excited, and I'm also really nervous ... I'm not going to lie about it," he said.

"But I have confidence in my team-mates that they will support me in a time like this and I know there are a lot of guys who have led before that I can always lean on.

"It's something I'm counting on, and I'm grateful that all the coach wants from me is to play my game and give the best on the field.

"Whenever I need helping, I will go to my other team-mates.

"I'm not that kind of guy who wants to be seen as the one in charge. I'm always looking for help from others and I'm always willing to let other players lead in ways that I can't do it."

The Boks will play their first match of the tournament against the mighty All Blacks on September 21 in Yokohama. 

Springboks' 31-man Rugby World Cup squad:

Forwards (17)

Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (captain, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Backs (14)

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S'bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)

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