Johannesburg - New Springbok captain Siya Kolisi admits his form hasn’t been what he would have liked it to be this year, but says he relishes the challenge of raising the level of his game while he is captain.
Kolisi’s Stormers side has struggled this season and with it he hasn’t been in the explosive form that he was in in 2017, but with new Bok coach Rassie Erasmus already pointing out that Kolisi has excelled off the ball with several other areas of the game that they have told him to concentrate on, the new Bok captain is confident his form will return, according to supersport.com website.
But he does realise that the spotlight of scrutiny will be on him more now that he is in the leadership position.
“I know. It’s been really tough if you compare my season this year to last year. I’ll admit last year you basically saw me more. I was carrying the ball more, making game-breaking opportunities and this year it has been different,” Kolisi admits.
“We have been struggling as a team and my performance took a knock and I’ve had to kind of focus on things I don’t normally do. I like carrying the ball and making big hits.
“And now coming to the alignment camp and speaking to coach Rassie. They look at different departments and I started working on the breakdown and my tackling and getting off the ground as quickly as possible.
“I was seeing I wasn’t getting as much ball as possible so I had to focus on other departments.
“It is getting better and I know now that the spotlight is on me and I have to perform. Obviously, that is a great challenge and its great pressure, I am excited. I love challenges and I am looking forward to it.”
Kolisi adds that since becoming captain at the Stormers he has had to grow a lot as a person and a player. The soft-spoken flanker has learnt to speak up, and speak his mind as a leader, something he is still learning.
“I’ve had to grow quite a lot. I’ve had to change not who I am but how I handle things. Last year I was learning with the new coach, coach Robbie (Fleck) and obviously, there is a lot of shared leadership but I was lucky because I had guys like Eben (Etzebeth) and Pieter-Steph (Du Toit) who took control.
“Obviously the longer the season went, the more confidence and started learning and started speaking more. I am not a man of many words but I have had to speak more. I have had to get out of my comfort zone and make sure all the sides of my leadership come together as well.
“I make sure all the sides of my leadership come together as one and I am getting better, I’m still learning and there is still a lot for me to learn and I know I will learn a lot more from coach Rassie and the guys in the team now. Guys like Duane (Vermeulen) and Bismarck (Du Plessis), who have more experience than I do. I’m always willing to listen to guys who will help me grow and develop my leadership.”
Kolisi has been around long enough to know that he will be scrutinised more than others, but he is up for the challenge and is willing to grow in the role. That is precisely what South African rugby needs right now.