There is still the Northern Hemisphere tour to come, but Siya Kolisi is surely a strong contender to win SA Rugby’s coveted Player of the Year award for 2021.
The Springboks skipper, from the British & Irish Lions tour through to the end of the Rugby Championship, has been one of his side’s consistently best players in a season that started with a highly-publicised move from the Stormers to the Sharks.
Kolisi was part of the furniture at Newlands, having spent his entire professional career at Western Province after moving through the union’s youth structures.
A decade later, the move to Durban and the Stormers’ coastal rivals was a difficult one to digest for Stormers fans, and it was also a major adjustment for Kolisi himself.
Speaking at Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday at an adidas function that saw him promoting his new book ‘Rise’, Kolisi opened up on his move from the West to East coast.
“I had to make a big decision. I had to leave my home, my family, my friends and a team that I love,” he said.
“People think it’s easy and you do it for money, but I always thought I’d retire as a Stormers player.
“Yet, I just knew that for my career, and both physically and mentally, I needed a new challenge.”
Having arrived at the Sharks in the final stages of rehab from a serious knee injury, the road back to full fitness was a long one for Kolisi.
With that came doubt over his form and, looking ahead, to his Bok credentials.
But, as was the case at Rugby World Cup 2019, Kolisi silenced his doubters and this year, he is playing some of the best rugby he ever has in a Bok jersey.
“When I get to a new place, I’m the type of person who wants to prove himself and ensure that I’m selected for the right reasons,” Kolisi said.
“It (the Sharks move) got me to focus again, and I worked really hard at my fitness.
“I never doubted myself because I know my body and that I would be fine once I got back to a certain level of fitness, so I wasn’t stressed.”