South Africa's Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi is a true inspiration to us all

South Africa beat England 32-12 to win the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday. 

It certainly wasn’t a classic – the game was won and lost around the scrum and the Springboks kicked England to death, with Handre Pollard scoring 18 points of his own from penalties alone. 

But two late tries put the game beyond doubt and make no mistake, South Africa were deserving winners. 

And no one deserved to lift the World Cup more than their captain Siya Kolisi. 

The versatile flanker entered the tournament as his nation’s first-ever black captain, and his story is an inspiration to us all. 

As a child, Kolisi grew up in poverty near the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, where he went to school and often turned up to rugby training starving. 

Per The Times, ‘His bed was a jumble of cushions on the living room floor and money was hard to find’. 

He was even forced to watch the 2007 World Cup final in a pub because his family did not own a television. 

But that didn’t stop Kolisi. He earned a scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School, which is well known for producing sporting talent for South Africa’s national sides.

There he excelled both in sports and academia and despite facing the ‘yawning inequalities’ of his countries society, he has since risen to the top of his sport. 

Fast forward to 2019 and Kolisi is lifting the World Cup as South Africa’s first black captain. But before he did so, he delivered a heartwarming message to the world. 

“I’m grateful for everything this team has been through. This team faced a lot of challenges,” he said after the game.

“The people of South Africa have been behind us and we’re so grateful. We have so many problems in our country but to have a team like this, we come from different backgrounds and different races. 

“We came together with one goal and we achieved it. I hope we showed South Africa that we came together to achieve something.” 

Seeing England lose the World Cup final will hurt many fans, but seeing how much it means to South Africa and their captain makes it hard to hold a grudge. 

Congratulations Siya Kolisi – what a story. 

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