Former Springboks winger Breyton Paulse has praised Siya Kolisi’s appointment ascaptain of the South African national rugby team.
Kolisi is the first black African player in the side’s history to be given the honour, after coach Rassie Erasmus selected him to lead the Springboks in their three-test series against England.
Speaking to Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes, Paulse believed it was a long overdue milestone for South African rugby.
"It’s an historic day for South African rugby," he said.
"It’s a watershed moment, because we have a long history of rugby, back in the apartheid era, where the coloured and black players were playing in the one federation, and the white players were playing in a different federation, and we’ve come a long way.
"This is the way we certainly want Springbok rugby to be and I can tell you one thing, a lot of the so-called black and coloured players, many of them who have been picked in the side are certainly there on merit, so that’s really great to see.
"There’s definitely a different dynamic to how the fans speak about the team, how they respect the team as well and that’s very important."
Kolisi’s rise up the rugby ranks has been nothing short of remarkable, growing up in a township in Port Elizabeth, before his talents saw him attend the prestigious Grey High School.
He has since amassed more than 100 Super Rugby games for the Stormers and 28 tests for the Springboks.
Paulse was confident Kolisi’s background will serve South Africa well, which has experienced a disappointing few years of results.
"He comes from humble beginnings and certainly made it big, and it showed you that guys like Rassie Erasmus respect Siya Kolisi and trust him as his leader going forward,"he said.
"Siya has come a long way, he’s certainly a guy that can unite a team and get them in the right direction.
"You’ve got to earn the respect of your teammates first, before you can earn your place in the Springbok jersey. It’s nice to see that there’s a nice buzz, a new vibe about the Springbok team and Siya Kolisi’s got a massive reasonability.
"He’s more than just a human being and a player of colour - he’s actually a person that all races and cultures look up to, and that’s why I’m so excited for his reign together with Rassie Erasmus."