Siya Kolisi: Springbok skipper to swap Sharks for Racing 92 after World Cup

South Africa's Siya Kolisi before the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2022. Credit: Alamy
South Africa's Siya Kolisi before the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2022. Credit: Alamy

The Sharks have announced that they have granted Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi an early release from his contract to join Top 14 club Racing 92 after the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Kolisi joined the Sharks in 2021, and has become an integral member of the Durban-based outfit. He has naturally served in a key leadership role and was recently appointed as the team’s captain for their 2022/23 Champions Cup campaign.

Leaving with Sharks’ blessing

The Sharks said the 31-year-old will leave them with their full blessing when he says goodbye to the team after the World Cup in France later this year.

Sharks chief executive Eduard Coetzee said they are looking forward to Kolisi’s continued contributions to the team for the rest of the season and wished him well with the next phase of his career.

“Siya has been an instrumental and much-loved member of the Cell C Sharks family since his arrival two years ago,” he told the Sharks’ official website.

“His well-documented and commendable leadership qualities extends far beyond the playing field, and this is none more so evident than his involvement with the launch of the Players First programme, as well as his commitment in the expansion of the Sharks brand to a global market.

“His move to France is a new and exciting opportunity, and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black and white jersey, and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans.”

The Sharks also revealed that Kolisi’s multi-year signing is part of a broader long-term collaboration between them and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they are also looking forward to continue to build a mutually beneficial relationship in the future.

The collaboration will involve quarterly meetings of owners and management, and an exchange of ideas about player sharing, coaching expertise as well as branding.

Racing 92 will become part of the global network of relationships being established by the Sharks as it seeks to expand their brand in Europe and the North American market in the years leading up to the 2031 Rugby World Cup which will be held in the USA.

Kolisi thanked the Sharks for giving him the opportunity to take up this new challenge from the 2023/24 season onwards.

“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup,” he said.

“I want to give a massive thanks to the Cell C Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.

Immensely appreciative

“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months.”

Looking ahead, Coetzee added: “Over the last two years, our focus has been on building strong depth in our squad, and we look forward to our upcoming games and watching the Cell C Sharks team play to their full potential.”

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