Siya Kolisi Biography: Family, Career, Awards And Love Life

World Cup winner has rugby at his feet

By  | Dec 06, 2019, 11:45 AM

Rugby player Siya Kolisi has the world at his feet, since leading South Africa’s Springboks to a third world cup title in November 2019.

From interviews with leading news agencies and returning to his hometown with the winning trophy, to an invitation to watch his football club live in action, everyone wants a piece of Siya Kolisi.

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This is his biography.

Siya Kolisi’s Early Life And Family


Siyamthanda Kolisi was born in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, on 16 June 1991. His mother Phakama was 16 years old at the time, and his father Fezakele was a matriculant.

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Growing up in the township, Siya was raised by his paternal grandmother, aunt and uncle.

Things were tough for Siya, with there being little money for food. He often skipped school to take care of his grandmother, who one afternoon collapsed and passed away in Siya’s arms.

As an impressive young rugby player at Emsengeni Primary School, Siya got the opportunity to participate in the Eastern Province Under-12B tournament.

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Once he was on the field, Siya had scouts take note of his talent at 12-years-old, that they offered him scholarship, which covered all costs, to attend one of Port Elizabeth’s most prestigious schools. Grey Boys’ High School is also one of the country’s best rugby schools.

Staying in the school hostel meant Siya didn’t see his family often, and one weekend when he went back home, he found out he had two younger siblings on his mother’s side.

His mom passed away when Siya was just 15-years-old, and his siblings Liyema and Liphelo, moved in with their father. After his passing, Liyema and Liphelo ended up in orphanages at foster care.

Siya’s Rugby Career Kicks Off In School


As a learner at Grey, Siya impressed with his rugby boots, first earning a spot in the under-13 rugby team, and eventually on the school’s first team rugby. By 2007 he had his provincial colours as part of the Eastern Province Kings, playing in the popular Craven Week rugby tournament.

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After playing for his home province, Siya made the move to the Western Province, where he made his debut against the Golden Lions.

Despite several injuries, Siya’s rugby star was on the rise and he made his appearance at the Currie Cup, scoring four tries.

In 2012, Siya made the Stormers team, but sidelined due to injury, he wasn’t able to play in their match as they won the Currie Cup tournament in 2012.

Not one to give up, Siya returned to the Stormers fully fit and quickly gained world-recognition as a loose forward.

He earned a spot on the Springboks squad for the 2013 Rugby Championship and made his Springboks debut against Scotland, in a match where he was a substitute and named Man of the Match.

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Although his Springboks career started out slowly always being named on the bench, by 2015 Siya had made such an impact that he booked his seat to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, playing in two matches against Japan and Samoa.

After the World Cup, it was back to provincial rugby, and by 2017 Siya was named the captain for the Stormers and a regular in the Super Rugby tournament.

In 2018, Siya made history when he was named the first Black captain of the Springboks. And his first match as captain was to lead the Springboks at Ellis Park, the same venue where the Springboks won the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

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In 2019, Siya once again made history, when he lifted the Webb Ellis trophy, as he led the Springboks to victory in Japan, winning an impressive third World Cup title.

And his family were there to support him.
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And with this great win, comes even more world recognition and invitations to watch his favourite football team Liverpool in action.

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Siya Rakes In The Awards


With his impressive career, comes all the accolades.

In late 2019 Siya was nominated for the BBC Sports Star of the Year Award, alongside Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge, American Olympic gold winner Simone Biles and America’s legendary golf player Tiger Woods.

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Just a few days after lifting the World Cup trophy, Siya won the People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year Award at the SA Sport Awards, and he along with the Springboks have also been nominated for Team of the Year Award at the 2020 Laureus Awards.

Other awards that came earlier in Siya’s career was the 2017 Players’ Player of the Year and the Forward of the Year Award at the BrightRock Players Choice Awards and in July 2019, he was nominated for the Laureus Sports Awards sporting moment of the month, for captaining the Springboks.

Siya Finds True Love


In 2012, Siya met Rachel Smith while they were out for dinner with mutual friends. Although she wasn’t that impressed with him at first, the two quickly became friends before falling in love. 

In 2014, after years’ long search, Siya was reunited with his younger siblings Liyema and Liphelo. He was determined to take care of his siblings and he and Rachel became their official guardians.

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The couple welcomed their first child, a son they named Nicholas in 2015, and in 2017 their family became a little bit bigger, when they welcomed their daughter Keziah.

In 2016, wedding bells rang for Siya and Rachel, with the two saying their I Do’s in front of family and friends at a glamorous wedding.

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The two aren’t shy to show off their support and admiration for one another on their social pages. And Rachel often shares their family pictures, whether it’s travelling to Japan, or the children hiding in a corner to just hanging out and reading books. 

The family lives together in Pinelands, and with the world at his feet and his family always there to support him, the future is very bright for the Kolisis'.

Main image credit: RugbyPass.com