Siya Kolisi is a superstar, with a story more inspirational than a sports movie — from a humble upbringing in Zwide, South Africa, to being the first black man to captain the national rugby team in a country where rugby was once a symbol of white supremacy, to leading the Springboks to back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles in 2019 and 2023.
He's always used that fame for good, co-founding the Kolisi foundation with his wife Rachel in 2020 to work for food security, education, and stopping gender-based violence in South Africa.
So what could be next?
Jim Hamilton asked Kolisi about his plans after rugby in a recent interview on RugbyPass, and Kolisi's earnest answer made clear just how much he prioritizes using his position to make positive change — specifically, supporting women's rugby.
“I want to help the women’s game, to be honest. I think more men need to support women’s rugby in the same way that they support us."
“They’re playing in the same level as us, working harder than us, having to go to work and still play rugby. I don’t believe that’s right. So I want to help the women out some way, maybe work at World Rugby to push women’s rugby — get more support, get more sponsorship for them."
“They should have the same access as we do, the same sponsorships, opportunities for the women's team. They've been breaking records — have you seen what's been happening at the World Cup in New Zealand? It's amazing," continued Kolisi, who has previously spoken about male players' particular responsibility to support their female equivalents.
"I think we don’t do enough as men. At the end of the day, if the women’s sport grows, the rugby community grows, we have more people supporting rugby, more people following rugby.”
"I think we can do more and World Rugby can do more too."
Jim: What about after rugby?
Siya: I want to help the women's game to be honest.
I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to hear our male counterparts talk about the women's game like this.
Nice one @SiyaKolisi @jimhamilton4 @RugbyPass 🤝 pic.twitter.com/HvqEiQsoMY
— Anna Caplice (@bananacaplice) January 31, 2024
Irish rugby international Anna Caplice was among those to share their appreciation of Kolisi's words, commenting "I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to hear our male counterparts talk about the women's game like this. Nice one," over X (Twitter).