Siya Kolisi has elegantly and maturely shrugged off racist reactions to his appointment as Springbok captain on social media.
While the 26-year-old flanker’s elevation has been hailed in many quarters as a hugely symbolic move, it has divided opinion too.
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“It’s always like that (the polarised debate),” Kolisi said on Wednesday at his first media conference in his new role.
“That’s just life, that’s how things happen. I can’t focus on what people are saying. Sometimes I’m also unhappy with other peoples’ decisions.”
VIDEO: Siya Kolisi isn't sure the magnitude of his appointment as Springboks captain has sunk in yet.
Posted by The Citizen Sport on Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Instead, he prides himself on opinions and support that really matters to him.
“Tremendous faith has been placed in me. I’m going to give my best because of that,” said Kolisi.
“I have a responsibility to perform at my best every Saturday, that’s the simple thing that’s actually being asked of me.”
The humble star from Zwide in the Eastern Cape also countered criticism that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus decided on him as skipper to alleviate transformation pressures within the national setup.
“This is a genuine appointment. I feel like that,” said Kolisi.
“Rassie is not the type of guy to be make (fake) decisions. I’ve known him since I’ve been 18. He’s straightforward with me. I always know where I stand with him.
“I’m not a politician and Rassie is no politician. I have no questions or doubts over my appointment. I’m here to inspire not only black people, I’m here to inspire everyone. I represent South Africa, not just one race group.”