Kolisi WINS Major UK Accolade: “Thank You for Supporting Rugby and South Africa”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was honoured for his contribution to South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup victory on Tuesday night, being awarded the prestigious Pat Marshall Memorial Award at the annual Rugby Union Writer’s Club dinner in London. Kolisi said it was an honour and thanked everyone for their support of rugby and South Africa as a country.

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YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – OCTOBER 27: Siya Kolisi of South Africa celebrates victory after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Kolisi was shortlisted with his Springbok team-mate Faf de Klerk, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, as well as inspirational Wales and Japan captains Alun Wyn Jones and Michael Leitch.

The South African captain was voted the winner following a poll of the RUWC’s more than 200 members.

Previous winners of the award include Gareth Edwards, Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jonny Wilkinson, Owen Farrell, Dan Carter, Eddie Jones and Jonathan Sexton, last year’s winner.

The Pat Marshall Memorial Award for Rugby Personality of the Year is handed to the individual who has made the greatest impact on rugby in the previous 12 months.

According to The Guardian, “anyone familiar with Kolisi’s extraordinary back story will know, he must be the ultimate example of just how transformative sport can be”.

“I am really honoured and this is a massive privilege, not only for me but also for my team-mates as I would not have been able to achieve this without them,” said Kolisi.

“Thank you for supporting rugby and supporting South Africa as a country – this award is not only for me and my team-mates, but for all the rugby players around the world, let’s keep growing the game.”

Apart from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan last November, the Springboks were also named World Rugby’s Team of the Year, Erasmus walked away with the accolade for Coach of the Year and Pieter-Steph du Toit was named Player of the Year for 2019.

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YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – NOVEMBER 02: Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Web Ellis cup following his team’s victory against England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on November 02, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

In December, Kolisi dedicated his World Peace and Sport Champion for 2019 Award, which he received in Monaco, to the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok squad.

And Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe scooped the top award in the French league after he was named as the Top 14’s Player of the Season at a glittering ceremony in Paris late in November 2019, while the fleet-footed winger also won the awards for the best Top 14 player at the World Cup, and for the Try of the Season.