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Siya Kolisi

Born:   June 16, 1991
Place of Birth:    Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Zodiac Sign:  Gemini

Siyamthanda Kolisi is a South African professional rugby union player who currently captains the South Africa national team and also plays club rugby for the Stormers in Super Rugby and Western Province in the Currie Cup. He generally plays as a flanker. In 2018, Kolisi was appointed captain of the Springboks, becoming the first black man to hold the position, and eventually leading the South African Rugby team to victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final against England. In December 2019, Kolisi was named in New African magazine's list of 100 Most Influential Africans.

Kolisi grew up in the township of Zwide. Kolisi's mother, Phakama, was 17 when Siya was born and his father, Fezakele, was in his final year of school. Kolisi's mother died when he was 15, leaving his late grandmother, Nolulamile, to raise him. Kolisi grew up in the impoverished Zwide township outside Port Elizabeth and endured a tough upbringing. At the age of 12, he impressed scouts at a youth tournament in Mossel Bay and was offered a scholarship at Grey Junior in Port Elizabeth. He was subsequently offered a rugby scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School, which South African cricketer Graeme Pollock and England International Mike Catt had attended. Kolisi was a regular member of the first XV rugby team. He was also a part of the Eastern Province Kings youth set-up between 2007 and 2009, playing in the Under-16 Grant Khomo week and the Under-18 Craven Week before shifting west to join Western Province. He further represented the South Africa national under-18 rugby union team (SA Schools team) for two consecutive years.

Kolisi made his senior debut for Western Province against the Golden Lions during the 2011 Vodacom Cup and later in the year several injuries and international call-ups gave him the opportunity to make regular starts in the Currie Cup. He made 13 appearances and scored 4 tries during the campaign including a crucial score against bitter rivals the Blue Bulls.

2012 saw Kolisi graduate to the Stormers squad and he made an immediate impact with 16 appearances during the season and 1 try. The second half of the year was not so kind to him as a thumb injury restricted him to just one appearance in the 2012 Currie Cup and he had to watch on from the sidelines as Province lifted their 33rd Currie Cup title.

Kolisi returned with a bang the following year and held his place in the Stormers side despite fierce competition among the loose forwards. 13 appearances and 2 tries were recorded and this earned him his first international recognition. Being part of the Springbok set-up for the 2013 Rugby Championship meant he only played in Western Province's final 3 matches of the 2013 Currie Cup and he was powerless to prevent them from slipping to a surprise 33–19 home defeat to the Sharks in the final of the competition.

Kolisi was selected as the new captain of the Stormers on 20 February 2017. He was selected as the new captain of the Springboks on May 28, 2018, becoming the team's first black captain in its 126-year history. Bryan Habana, former Springbok and of mixed race, praised Kolisi's appointment: "It's a monumental moment for South African rugby, and a moment in South African history."

Kolisi was on the board of directors of MyPlayers Rugby which is the players' Organisation of all the professional rugby players in South Africa.

Kolisi was a member of the South Africa under 20 side that competed in both the 2010 and 2011 IRB Junior World Championships.

He made his national team debut as Springbok 851 on June 15, 2013 against Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. He replaced the injured Arno Botha in the 5th minute and was named as Man of the Match as South Africa won 30–17. Nine further substitute appearances followed during the 2013 international season as he firmly established himself as a regular member of the national squad. Kolisi also played two matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup playing for South Africa against Japan and Samoa.

Kolisi captained the South African team at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Yokohama, Japan, defeating England 32–12 in the final to lift the Webb Ellis Cup. This was South Africa's third World Cup win, tying with New Zealand. Siya Kolisi become the first black captain of a World Cup-winning side.

Kolisi married Rachel Kolisi in 2016 and as of 2018 they have two children together: son Nicholas Siyamthanda (2015) and daughter Keziah (2017). Since 2014 Siya's half-siblings, Liyema and Liphelo, children of Siya's mother who died in 2009, have been part of the Kolisi household, after five years in orphanages and foster care in Port Elizabeth. Rachel, one year older than Siya, is from Grahamstown and worked as a marketing executive before taking on duties as a full-time mother.

Kolisi and his wife launched a The Siya Kolisi Foundation in 2020. The foundation provides personal protective equipment to healthcare workers and brings food packages to Zwide township where Kolisi grew up in South Africa.  Source.

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