Siya Kolisi fires back at critics of future teammate Owen Farrell


South Africa captain Siya Kolisi has leapt to the defence of his future Racing 92 teammate Owen Farrell in the wake of criticism he has received before and after his move to the Top 14 was announced.

Prior to the announcement last week of his move to Racing at the end of the season, the 112-cap former England captain had already announced that he would be taking a break from Test rugby for his own mental well being.

The decision came after a World Cup where the England great was staggeringly booed by his own fans. Once his departure from Saracens had been announced, the fly-half was then met by more jibes that he was turning his back on England.

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But Kolisi has praised Farrell for making this decision and “choosing himself”, saying he has more to think about that just rugby.

As a guest on The Big Jim Show on RugbyPass TV recently, the double World Cup winning captain said how respectful of Farrell he is for making his decision.

“For Owen, I really don’t understand, he’s one of the greatest players to come out of England,” the Racing flanker said.

“People must know we’re also human beings. We have feelings, this stuff does hurt us. Saying something hurtful to someone, it’s not nice, and when it goes on and on and on people struggle and they can’t take it.

“I’m so respectful towards him in choosing himself. We think rugby is your life – no, you’ve got kids, you’ve got a wife, you still have to be ok and be present and be mentally able because those are the people who suffer the most, your loved ones.

“He’s realised something’s got to give. He’s got to look after himself and that was his way of saying ‘ok, I’ve still got to be fine after this.’”

The 32-year-old is certainly relishing playing alongside Farrell after years of being adversaries, and explained how much he likes the Englishman. Farrell does not necessarily have a style that ingratiates himself with opposing fans, but Kolisi said that he loves having teammates like him.

“I love Owen, I really like him,” he said.

“I don’t understand why people don’t like him, I just think he’s f***ing competitive which is what you want.

“He’s really a good leader, I think he’s very competitive and he’s just misunderstood.”

“There’s a lot of different ones. Like Dan Biggar, people always complain about him, but I don’t understand it. If you lose and you don’t look like you’ve tried hard enough, it’s a problem.

“He’s pushing his teammates, who have no problem with it. My teammates, the way they speak to me on the field when we played during the World Cup – like Bongi [Mbonambi] would tell me straight because he’s in charge of physicality.

“We’re in the midst of battle.”





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