Siya Kolisi, the South African rugby skipper who stole the hearts of rugby supports the world over with his smile and charisma and downright exceptional leadership skills, is again celebrated at the back of the latest accolade to bear his name.
Kolisi was on Monday voted the 2019 Rugby Union Writers’ Club (RUWC) Personality of the Year at an annual dinner held in London. The 28-year-old captain took the prize following a poll of the RUWC’s 200-plus members and duly walked off with the coveted Pat Marshall Memorial Award, presented to the individual who has made the greatest impact on rugby in the previous 12 months.
It was a deserved nod to an equally deserving figure, who as the first black South African rugby captain, led the Springboks to a third Rugby World Cup title, 12-years after the country last lifted the world prize. He now succeeds Ireland fly-half, Johnny Sexton, as the holder of the award, beating out the likes of Faf de Klerk, Rassie Erasmus, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and his talismanic opposite number for Japan, Michael Leitch.
With a tick next to the Rugby World Cup title, a series victory against England and Rugby Championship glory, Kolisi emulated previous greats, to have been acclaimed by the RUWC, in Gareth Edwards (Wales); Jonah Lomu (New Zealand); Martin Johnson (England); Lawrence Dallaglio (England), Jonny Wilkinson (England) and Dan Carter (New Zealand).