Siya Kolisi

Siya Kolisi is the boy from the townships who took every chance he got. From a bursary to attend the famous Grey High to a surprise Stormers debut off the bench at age 20, he hasn’t let one slip yet. Hailed for his rampant dashes up field, Kolisi takes special pride in his tackling. “That first-phase defence is one of my real strengths,” he says. But he’s clear on his flaws, too. “I want to get better at the breakdown, steal possession more often and start getting myself into better positions with the ball in hand.” The youngster from Zwide hasn’t forgotten why he plays this game. “It’s my happy space. It’s just honesty on the field. No matter what else is happening in life, I just love playing rugby with my mates.” Denied a first shot at Springbok glory last year because of injury, the flanker now looks set for plenty of chances at the highest level. — Ian Macleod