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Monday, 20 July 2009 02:00

Siya Kolisi- The Next Heinrich Brussow?

Amidst the plethora of talent on show at Cape Schools Week, one name stood head and shoulders above the rest in the loose forward department. Whilst the WPRFU did not allow any of their Craven Week selections to participate in the festival, the EPRFU was a tad more lenient allowing some of their stars to take part in a portion of the tournament.  

 This was fantastic news for us rugby lovers as we had the opportunity to witness the feats of the hard running, incredibly physical and bone-crunching tackler wearing the No. 7 jumper for Grey, a young man who has recently signed a 3-year contract with the Vodacom Cheetahs and who has all the assets to become the next big thing from the venerable talent factory that Bloemfontein has become. SA School Sports had the pleasure and priviledge to interview this unassuming young lad by the name of Siya Kolisi. So Siya, its great to have you in the Cape again. It looks like you're really enjoying you're rugby at the moment, but tell us, how did it all begin?

Well rugby I guess runs in the blood. My dad played rugby for his local club and I started playing club rugby aged 8 before I went to Grey in Grade 7. I grew up in Zwide which is a township just outside Port Elizabeth. My dad raised me for most of my life as my mother passed when I was very young, so the rugby influence has been there for a long time.

When I started, I was playing for a club called "African Bombers" (not an elite Army squadron), and I made the u12 EP trials while I was playing there.  At the u12 EP Trials, I was spotted by a scout who offered me a bursary to Grey. It was an offer I couldn't refuse and I gladly accepted.

Ah the famous powder blue shirt of Grey, you must've had some pretty good experiences playing in that famous jersey, any one stand out?

Probably vs Paul Roos last year. That was one hell of a game. We had a really hard one this week against Wynberg and earlier in the year against them as well but nothing compares to that Paul Roos game.

How's life treating you at Grey? I hear you're a boarder?


It's fantastic! Its been one of the greatest experiences in my life. I absolutely love staying in the boarding house. All my mates are here in Merryway House and I wouldn't choose anywhere else.

Sounds great! But judging by the size of those biceps, you must be in the gym most of the time?


Gym? (laughs) I tried going once or twice to the gym but it just wasn't for me. My training regime is just spent with the team. I'll do a few push-ups here and there but no serious gymming whatsoever.


(Rather quizzical and worried look from me) (Laughs) No when I was in Grade 10 I woke up one day and I was as big as this. I didn't have to gym or anything I just was as big as this and nothing's changed since then.

Jeepers they breed them big in the Eastern Cape! Any ambitions rugby-wise about what to do with that natural physicality?


Ah my dream is to play for the Boks. I want to do all in my power to fulfil my dream of playing in the Green and Gold one day. I've also signed a contract with a provincial franchise for 3 years so we'll see how that goes.

Yes that Cheetahs contract we've been hearing so much about. Tell us a bit more about it.


After I made SA Schools last year, I was approached by Free State who offered me a 3 year contract to play for them starting in 2010. I was and still am over the moon about it and very excited to be playing in Bloemfontein come next year.

Glad to see other schools are getting a foot into Cheetahs country, though to avoid confusion they might have to put a P.E. next to your name to distinguish you from the rest of the Cheetahs/Grey College 1st XV.


To get to this level though, playing with the big boys, you must've had some fantastic groundwork. Have there been people that've encouraged you through thick and thin or has it been more of a personal battle with yourself to the top?


Oh no it hasn't been me alone. The person who first believed in me was a great man from my "African Bombers" days, Mr. Eric Songwiqi. He took me to EP trials when I was u12 and helped through them. It is because of his training and assistance that I was able to achieve bigger and greater things. Then when I came to Grey, my current captain Siyanda Mangaliso became my best friend and biggest influence. He remains like an older brother to me.

Okay so lets recap then, what exactly are all the honours you've achieved on the rugby field in your short but illustrious career?


Well lets see,

u13 EP Craven Week

u16 EP Grant Khomo Week

SA u16 Elite Squad

u18 EP Craven Week (2008, 2009)

SA Schools (2008)

Wow. That's incredible. Just shows how jacked up they are grassroots wise in the Eastern Cape. Any favourite players?


Heinrich Brussow is the man. He is my new hero. He played incredibly well against the Lions and he's just so enthusiastic about the game.

I think I saw that coming! You're a Cheetahs man already! But as a fellow loosie I couldn't agree with you more, Heinrich Brussow IS the man!


Well Siya its been an absolute pleasure, we hope you enjoy the rest of the tournament and good luck with Craven Week. We're all behind you!


Thanks very much. It's been a great privilege to be here.

UPDATED Note: Siya Kolisi is now a regular in the Springbok team.

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