Kolisi happier now with the weight of captaincy

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    11 Jan 2019     Getty Images

Recent comments about playing quotas in South Africa have attracted much comment at home while on the international stage his progression to the captaincy has him on the short list for a Laureus award.

While results were mixed in 2018, he led the side to seven wins in 13 Tests, including the win over the All Blacks in Wellington, there was a growing air of confidence around his side.

Kolisi, 27, told CNN's World Rugby show that there was a lot of hype around his appointment by new coach Rassie Erasmus, and it had been a lot to take in.

He also felt it affected how he performed on the field.

"I don't like the spotlight, I'm very shy," he said.

"People had obviously high expectations and everything, and I think seeing myself in newspapers every single day, it's something I wasn't used to.

"My game went a little bit down, and it was tough. You can see with the stats and stuff. Even the coaches would tell you that my game wasn't up to standard," he said.

When the actual announcement of his being awarded the captaincy was made, the first for a black African player, he said it was like something he had never seen before in South Africa.

"The people were happy and going crazy. So, when that happened, I think it affected me a lot with my game, because it was a lot. It was really a lot," he said.

And after his first season leading the side, he felt that not only had he regained his best touch but the Springboks were on target to compete well at the Rugby World Cup later this year.

"We've broken through some barriers I thought we couldn't do. The respect is back in the Springbok jersey," he said.

"I think we're getting it right without trying. We're not trying to be something. It's just coming. It's working for us because we're a young team and we get along so well. And we just want to grow. We want to make sure that the Springboks are the best.

"I think we have a possible chance of winning the World Cup," he said.