Disneyland then World Cup as Kolisi's dad makes first overseas trip

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Siya Kolisi admitted the pressure of being captain had got to him at first (AFP Photo/CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Tokyo (AFP) - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has arranged for his father to watch him in Saturday's World Cup final -- his first-ever overseas trip -- and Kolisi senior headed straight for Disneyland.

Kolisi, the first black captain of the South Africa rugby union team, grew up in the poor township of Zwide outside Port Elizabeth and his father has never left the country until now.

"I'm really happy that I could organise for him to come. He got here early this morning. It's his first time overseas so it's something different for him," the 28-year-old said in Tokyo.

Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick interrupted to say: "He's actually in Disneyland now."

Kolisi will not only lead out his country in a World Cup final, but also celebrate his 50th cap and he revealed that his father had watched him live only once before -- for his South Africa debut.

"It's one of the things that I'm grateful about playing rugby. That we can do things like this for our family members," said Kolisi, who has also arranged for his best friend to watch the game in Yokohama near Tokyo.

As a black skipper in a Springbok shirt, Kolisi said he was aware of the importance of what he represented back home and admitted it was "very tough at the beginning" when he was first named captain.

"Obviously it was a big thing back at home and around the world and it took its toll on me at the beginning," he said.

The leadership burden has been shared with other senior members of the squad such as fly-half Handre Pollard, which has released the pressure on him slightly, said Kolisi.

"It would be huge for us to lift the trophy. It will be not only huge for us but for the country as well," said Kolisi.

Erasmus named Kolisi skipper when he took over from the sacked Allister Coetzee last year, a bold statement for a team that does not have a specific quota system, but does have a 'transformation' target of 50 percent players of colour.

The current 31-strong squad, which plays England in the final of the Rugby World Cup in Yokohama on Saturday, has 12 black players (39 percent). Roughly 10 percent of South Africa's 57 million citizens are white.

"We are all different South Africans from different walks of life but we bought into coach Rassie's plans and we said this is what we want to achieve and we are giving it everything," Kolisi said.

He said he hoped South Africa as a country could pull together using the Springboks as an example.

"It would be huge to show that as a country, no matter where we come from, we can bind to one plan and we can achieve our goal."