South African national rugby player Siya Kolisi on the pitch before the REUTERS / Phil Noble match
LONDON (Reuters) – Siya Kolisi was voted UK Rugby Union Writers & # 39; Club of 2019 on Monday after leading South Africa to her emotional World Cup triumph in Japan.
The Springboks captain was awarded the Pat Marshall Memorial Award after polling more than 200 members at the RUWC's annual dinner in London.
The tough flanker, who was named South Africa's first black test captain in 2018, helped the team win last year's rugby championship and then their third world championship when they defeated England 32:12 in the Yokohama final.
Kolisi delighted admirers around the world for his performance on the course in Japan and his mercy, especially after the triumph, when he spoke so emotionally and eloquently of his remarkable journey to the top of the game after being in poverty by his grandmother in a township had grown up outside of Port Elizabeth.
The shortlist for the 2019 award, named after former Daily Express rugby correspondent, was dominated by South Africa. Trainers Rassie Erasmus and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk were also nominated, along with Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and Japanese skipper Michael Leitch.
Kolisi succeeds Johnny Sexton (Ireland) as an award winner and follows in the footsteps of greats such as Welshman Mervyn Davies (1976), Jonah Lomu (1976), Martin Johnson (1976), Jonny Wilkinson (1976), Dan Carter and one another Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar.
Former captain of Scotland, Tom Smith, received the special award for his contribution to the game in the fight against colon cancer.
The 48-year-old won 61 caps between 1997 and 2005 and was a key member of the British and Irish Lions teams, who celebrated a 2-1 win against South Africa in 1997.
Reporting by Mitch Phillips cut by Ian Chadband