Super Rugby

Kolisi pleads with players to stay in SA

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

Cape Town - Stormers captain Siya Kolisi has launched a heartfelt plea to South African players looking to move abroad, urging them to stay in the country instead. 

Kolisi, who scored his side's try in their 17-11 Super Rugby quarter-final loss to the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday, says it is "not all about the money" and that players should rather look to be part of a legacy that benefits South African rugby. 

The Stormers had a number of players - Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe and Oli Kebble - play their last game for the franchise on Saturday before heading off on their respective overseas ventures.

Kolisi, visibly hurting after the loss, spoke about the issue at his post-match press conference. 

"It's tough for us to lose players, especially with the period we're in in South African rugby," the skipper said.

"Last year the Springboks didn't do well because all of the South African (Super Rugby) teams didn't do well, except for the Lions.

"We've made the rule that, mostly, South African-based players are going to get picked but how do you expect the Springboks to do well when the Unions are not doing well?"

Kolisi said young players in particular could benefit more from staying in South Africa, embracing its unique culture and playing an active role in improving South African rugby. 

"We can't always compete against the Pound or the Euro ... but we are trying to create something different here," he said.

"It's not only about the money; you want players to be happy and enjoy themselves. We have a very diverse group here at the Stormers and we want to make it as pleasant so that you enjoy yourself and the money doesn't matter.

"At the end of the day, we're all in different financial situations, and some guys who are a bit older go. But it's tough to lose young guys. We want to build for the future ... we're not only looking at 2019, but beyond."

Still, Kolisi is convinced that there is enough talent in the country to ensure that the players leaving are replaced with quality.

"It's an opportunity for another kid," he said.

"We wish the guys leaving luck and we want them to do well. Hopefully they can come back one day.

"When one player goes, there is another one coming through, so hopefully we can keep these guys."

Kolisi was impressive for the Springboks in their 3-0 series win over France in June and is expected to wear the No 6 jersey when the Rugby Championship gets underway in August.

Follow Sport24 journalist @LloydBurnard on Twitter...

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