Siya’s moment of truth
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has made the shortlist for the “Moment of the Year” award at the Laureus World Sports Awards that take place in Monaco on Monday.
The initial list of 10 nominees was whittled down to three after a fan voting process.
Kolisi captained the Boks in 13 of their 14 Tests in 2018‚ but it was his emotional appointment to lead the team against England‚ at Ellis Park in June‚ that earned the nomination.
Fittingly‚ Kolisi wore the No 6 jersey‚ which former president Nelson Mandela so famously donned when attending the 1995 Rugby World Cup final at the same venue.
It was an inspirational act of nation-building by the former president.
Kolisi’s leading the Boks out of the tunnel at the same stadium 23 years later was an equally inspirational and important moment for rugby and the country.
Kolisi captained the Boks a further 12 times in 2018‚ including when they beat the mighty All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in nine years.
The Bok skipper will be up against former Scottish rugby player Doddie Weir and Chinese mountaineer Xia Boyu.
“Thank you, South Africa for voting for me and I will be in the top three all because of you guys‚” Kolisi said.
“So thanks again for supporting me.”
Moment of the Year finalists:
● Doddie Weir: Giant of a Man Doddie Weir‚ who has 61 caps for Scotland, moved rugby fans around the world when he delivered the match ball for the Scotland versus New Zealand match in November 2017.
Weir suffers from a form of motor neuron disease.
He is now raising funds and awareness through his My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
● Xia Boyu: Challenge of Fate In 1975‚ Xia Boyu lost his feet after giving his sleeping bag to a sick teammate during a high-altitude storm.
Now aged 69‚ he has become only the second double amputee to scale Everest – and the first ever from the Nepalese side.
● Siya Kolisi: Uniting a Rainbow Nation
Siya Kolisi made history earlier this year when he became the first black African to captain the Springboks in a Test‚ leading his team out against England at Ellis Park in June.
It was a significant moment for rugby‚ which two decades ago was seen as the sporting embodiment of the apartheid regime.