Siyamthanda Kolisi is currently enjoying widespread favour and approval … and deservedly so.
The Springbok rookie also got a vote of confident from Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, who is ready to give the Stormers star the freedom of the field.
The former Grey High (Port Elizabeth) pupil, who turned 21 on Youth Day (June 16) this year, is one of five uncapped players in a 30-man Springbok squad for the inaugural Rugby Championship – which gets underway on August 18, when the South Africa face newcomers Argentina at Newlands.
The Stormers loose forward, Kolisi, and Lions prop Pat Cilliers are the new additions to the Bok squad.
Bulls utility back JJ Engelbrecht, Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies and Bulls scrumhalf Jano Vermaak – also uncapped – were part of the Bok squad for the June Tests against England, but did not make an appearance.
Kolisi was one of the ‘young guns’ that trained with the Boks, but was not named in the actual squad.
He has now made the step up.
Now he looks set to roam with freedom for the Boks on the rugby plains.
Meyer, in announcing his squad in Worcester at the weekend, had high praise for the young loose forward, especially his versatility.
“Siya [Kolisi] is a very versatile player,” Meyer said, adding: “I see him mostly as an openside flank, but he gives you the options that he can play No.8 and blindside.
“I am very fortunate to have him and Marcell Coetzee, both just turned 21.
“It is great to see a few youngsters, along with Eben [Etzebeth] in the team.”
Meyer said that while there was always a temptation to go with hardened, older Test players, he named the younger players with a view to the future.
“Although you want to win short-term trophies, you also have to look at the long-term … so it is great to have these youngsters coming in.
“I am just thankful that SARU allowed me to have those young guns around in that training camp [in June].
“Even then I was impressed with Siya, the way he fitted in … he knows the game plan now.
“This is the next step up for him and hopefully he will grab the opportunity.”
Kolisi is another of the Stormers young guns that has already made his mark at junior international level and at a senior provincial level.
He had an impressive Currie Cup season in 2011 and, with his high work rate and strength, proved he is a valuable player in the squad, walking away with the 2011 WP Most Promising Senior Player award.
Kolisi has also been a force for the Stormers this season.
He came in cold in that first game against the Hurricanes as a replacement for Bok veteran Schalk Burger after 15 minutes, and hasn’t looked back.
Ironically he now looks set to claim Burger’s No.6 jersey in the Bok squad. It has been revealed that Burger is unlikely to been seen on a rugby field again this year – a result of the horrendous knee injury he suffered against the Hurricanes.
Kolisi, although set to be used as the Boks’ openside flank, is much more.
His jolting tackles, where he often sends opponents back, long strides with ball-in-hand and tireless work-rate has seen him make a meteoric rise through the ranks and into the Bok side.
His ability to play all three positions in the loose trio makes him an even more attractive prospect, and he has shown without any doubt that he can handle the pressure when the going gets tough.
Article source: http://sport.iafrica.com/rugby/news/809459.html