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Remarkable journey of Siya Kolisi

Japan had an emperor enthroned last week, but the occasion of Siya Kolisi leading the Springboks in his 50th Test in tomorrow's Rugby World Cup final is fit for a king.

When Kolisi leads out the Boks onto the International Stadium Yokohama's playing surface, it will be the last few steps of a truly remarkable journey.

His walk, which started on the dusty streets of Zwide, Eastern Cape, has been truly liberating, not just for him but those who have willed him on along the way, breaking barriers and setting new frontiers.

Last year, he became the Springboks' first black rugby captain and he hasn't just held on to the position, but he has become the poster boy for it.

Through all the adulation and fawning over, Kolisi has remained humble.

Yesterday, as he walked through the lobby of the Springboks' team hotel located next to Disneyland in this sprawling city with his wife and two kids, he made a sudden turn and headed to a coffee shop where South African rugby scribes were seated.

There were firm handshakes before he moved on.

President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions posed in parliament on October 31 2019. Ramaphosa addressed issues regarding gender-based violence, unemployment among the youth and land reform, among others.

After the Boks qualified for their third RWC final, everyone wants a piece of Kolisi.

Tomorrow morning President Cyril Ramaphosa will jet off to Tokyo to attend the final.

He is likely to meet with the team late morning to wish them well before setting off for Yokohama, some 30km to the southwest of Tokyo.

When Kolisi leads out the Boks, he will have men behind him who will run through walls for him.

"Siya was also the captain at the Stormers, where we played together," said hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

"He was a massive leader there also, and has brought that kind of leadership to the international set-up.

"He's been learning a lot throughout this journey, and to make it to the final is really massive for him, and not just for him, but for the whole nation and the whole team.

"For me, personally, it wouldn't really matter if it's [the captain] black or white. When it comes to the Springboks, we are all wearing the same jersey, all wearing the green-and-gold, and we must represent one nation.

"I'm happy that Siya is the South Africa captain in a World Cup final, and it's a massive stage that everyone dreams about being on, and to turn a massive opportunity into reality."

Mbonambi said the Boks have been buoyed by massive support from home.

"The support from back home has been really amazing. We see all the videos they send us via social media, and the support we are getting from people who wrote us down in 2016 and 2017, and now they are back on the wagon to support us.

"That is massive for us, and I really enjoy it. It's a massive opportunity to be in a World Cup final. We've all dreamt about this, and now we have an opportunity to turn it into reality."

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