Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi reveals alcohol battle between World Cups

New Zealand's rugby players have sent a message of support to Siya Kolisi and the South Africans.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

New Zealand’s rugby players have sent a message of support to Siya Kolisi and the South Africans.

Inspirational Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has opened up on his battles with alcohol between the last two World Cups.

Kolisi has just released an official biography that covers his rise from poverty to lead South Africa’s national rugby team to their third World Cup victory in Japan in 2019.

But four years earlier it was a different story as he got little playing time in the team at the 2015 World Cup in England – he played just two pool matches off the bench – and he battled his demons.

South Africans celebrated the Springboks’ victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama.

In an interview with The Guardian he was asked if his drinking problems were a way of escaping his painful past?

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“Definitely. I drank when I was happy or sad, or dealing with something. Drinking was the only way I knew to get through this stuff.”

In his book Kolisi explained that it was only at the start of 2019 that his wife Rachel persuaded him to find a Christian mentor.

That man, Ben Schoeman, didn’t hold back with his advice to kolisi.

“Siya, you drink a lot, you fool around with women, you go to strip clubs. You post on social media about your faith in Christ, but you’re lying to yourself and everyone else,” he said.

Kolisi found it difficult but therapeutic.

“I started opening up to him and we spoke deeply. He told me I needed to stop drinking. It was tough at the beginning but now I don’t miss it,” he told The Guardian.

“I want to encourage people that it’s OK to look for help. Too many people commit suicide out of desperation because they’re too proud to talk to someone else. I want to encourage men to speak because they don’t talk to each other. Men don’t open up or want to cry. Men want to look strong at all times. But life is not about that. You can’t carry all that weight because it can break you.”

He was also determined to use his profile to help in other areas and decided, with his wife, to highlight gender violence as his primary topic of concern in public.

It was born from his upbringing when he witnessed the abuse his mother received.

Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel Smith make a powerful team in South Africa.

Simon Hofmann/Getty Images

Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel Smith make a powerful team in South Africa.

Kolisi said he remembers looking at photographs of his mother when she was young – before she gave birth to him at 18.

“She was beautiful and, most of all, unscarred. I never saw her look like that because her face changed so much from the different men beating her up … when she died she had scars all over her face.”

Kolisi told The Guardian that his sporting dream is to see him and his Springboks match Richie McCaw and the All Blacks by defending the World Cup in France 2023.

New Zealand won their second World Cup in 2011 and became the first team to retain it four years later.

Kolisi felt last Saturday’s gripping 31-29 win over the All Blacks in Queensland was a pointer to their potential.

“I’ve always believed in the group and I do believe it’s possible. But we have a lot to get right and then we go to Europe in November.”


Source link : https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/126581817/springboks-skipper-siya-kolisi-reveals-alcohol-battle-between-world-cups

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Publish date : 2021-10-04 21:10:00

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