Ex-Springbok 'Big Joe' impressed by Kolisi's leadership

Siya Kolisi (Gallo)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo)

Former Springbok loose forward Joe van Niekerk says he's been impressed by what he's seen from current national captain Siya Kolisi.

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Van Niekerk, who currently lives in the jungle in Costa Rica where he runs an organic farm called Rama Organica, told Sport24 in an exclusive interview that he had met Kolisi once before and was impressed by his character.

"First and foremost, what I observed was his humility. If you look at all the great leaders the humility with which they carry themselves is a huge trait," Van Niekerk said.

Van Niekerk, 39, played 52 Tests for the Springboks between 2001 and 2010. At provincial level, he represented the Lions and Western Province and played Super Rugby for the Cats and Stormers.

He moved to France in 2008 where he notched over a century of games for Toulon, whom he also captained.

Van Niekerk compared his own leadership style to that of the World Cup-winning Springbok captain.

"My particular style of leadership, which I feel is Siya's too, was about incorporating the whole and not being dictatorial or approaching the situation form a totalitarian point of view.

"In Siya, I see someone who has dropped all divides and any form of separation. It's about using the skills of each and every player and getting to know them on a personal level. If you can create bonds outside of rugby then what happens when you hit the pitch it’s like you are brothers.

"I think that is what happened with the 2019 World Cup-winning Springboks, who created that ethos and energy from within. You need to have a tight strategy and know what to do in each area of the field, but for me the template for success in professional sport is about creating bonds and having each other’s back."

READ | Joe van Niekerk's full Q&A interview with Sport24

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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