Sport

Kolisi to be first black South Africa Test captain

Kolisi to be first black South Africa Test captain”

Born in Zwide, a township in Port Elizabeth, Kolisi fell in love with rugby at a young age.

This means that when the Boks run onto the pitch against England in Johannesburg on June 9, Kolisi will become the first black Springbok to captain the national side in a Test.

He had already become the first black player to temporarily captain South Africa in a test a year ago when Eben Etzebeth was injured during a game in Wales.

Springboks captain is the biggest job in South African sport, and Kolisi's appointment is seen as a pivotal moment for a team and a country still trying to fully emerge from decades of white racist rule under the apartheid regime.

Chiliboy Ralepelle led the Springboks in a match against a World XV in England in 2006, but that match did not have Test status.

While coaching the Stormers, he instructed his players "to not play any rugby" on a stormy evening at Newlands against the Waratahs.

Kolisi leads the Stormers in Super Rugby and has played 28 tests since debuting at age 22, scoring 4 tries and being one of the Springbok's most prolific players previous year.

Erasmus, who took over the coaching reins of the Springboks after his appointment in April, also confirmed the Springboks' 26 man travelling squad for the Welsh encounter in Washington.

And it was exactly this long wait to have a black Bok captain that proved how far the country still needed to go in terms of transformation.

As a matter of policy, the South African sports authorities have ordered the Rugby Union to make sure that each outfit has a 50-50 black and white ratio of players come 2019.

There are no less than 17 uncapped players selected in the 43-man squad, in which most will receive their first Test caps against Wales on Saturday.

"We weren't fighting for one leader, we were fighting for leaders to emerge because we do have the ability to lead and play the game".

Kolisi had already become the first black player to temporarily captain South Africa in a Test past year when Eben Etzebeth was injured.



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