Siya Kolisi pens heartfelt open letter to WP rugby fraternity: 'A lifetime of gratitude'

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Siya Kolisi in Western Province colours. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Siya Kolisi in Western Province colours. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has penned an open letter to the Western Province Rugby Union and fans for their ongoing support.

It follows confirmation at the weekend that Kolisi had parted ways with the union after an 11-year alliance.

In the letter, titled ELEVEN YEARS: A LIFETIME OF GRATITUDE, Kolisi pays tribute to the coaches, fellow players and fans who played a significant role in his development.

"I am forever indebted to you for offering me the opportunity to live out my dream. You have allowed little boys and girls across South Africa who look just like be to believe that they too, can be anything they put their mind to. The power in this thinking is endless, and you have provided that hope," he wrote.

The coaches Kolisi hailed include Rassie Erasmus, Allister Coetzee, Robbie Fleck and John Dobson, while team-mates Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, Andries Bekker, Juan de Jongh and Gio Aplon were also mentioned.

"It fills me with pride knowing I was able to share the field with such huge names in the game. I was just a Grade 8 student when I was pictured asking Schalk for an autograph, today I stand humbled knowing that I got to call him my team-mate."

Kolisi also had a special word of thanks to WP and Stormers fans, as well as the sponsors.

"Feeling your energy week-in, week-out, there has been no better place in the world to play than Newlands. Through all the challenges, you have held me high. I will miss the butterflies I felt as we approached the stadium in the bus, seeing you all on the corner cheering us on. The atmosphere has truly been second-to-none."

While adding that Cape Town would always feel like home, Kolisi said it was time to move on.

"For the young boy from the township, now is the time to spread my wings. Now is the time to seize opportunities and experience this beautiful country we get to call home to its fullest."

Kolisi's likely next destination is the Durban-based Sharks, with confirmation of the deal expected in due course.

Ever since American investors MVM Holdings acquired a controlling stake in the Sharks in January, Kolisi's move to Durban has been the subject of much speculation. 

Investors in the MVM consortium include Roc Nation Sports president Michael Yormark and Vincent Mai, who was instrumental in Kolisi receiving a scholarship to attend Grey High School in Port Elizabeth.

Roc Nation, a talent agency owned by American rapper Jay Z, signed Kolisi before the end of 2019 after South Africa had won the Rugby World Cup and his likely move to KwaZulu-Natal appears to be rooted in that relationship.

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