Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi walked away with another set of awards on Thursday morning, a little more than a year after they spearheaded South Africa’s third triumph at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby and the Springbok captain were honoured at the Hollard Sports Industry Awards for 2020, which was staged digitally this year. The presentation takes place annually to celebrate achieving personalities and businesses in the South African sports industry.
On Thursday, Erasmus was presented with the Leadership in Sport Business Award, while Kolisi was honoured with the Sport Industry Personality of the Year accolade.
Francois Pienaar, the 1995 Springbok RWC-winning captain, presented Erasmus with his award, who described the tribute as both a big surprise and a great honour.
“I appreciate the award and the acknowledgement and I want to say thanks to everyone involved in staging the awards,” said Erasmus, who went on to thank the Springboks players, management staff and SA Rugby personnel who are working with the Springboks.
The Springboks have not been in action at all this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Pienaar asked Erasmus what was in store for 2021.
Erasmus replied: “Our planning is in place and we are looking good for next year’s British & Irish Lions tour. Our big challenge at the moment is that we want to transform that (RWC-winning) happiness into real hope and to do that we have to keep on winning as a team.”
Kolisi received his award from last year’s winner, Annelee Murray, who is the long-serving Springbok PR Manager.
“This award is really a team award, an acknowledgement of the good work done by everyone involved with the Springboks, from the coaches and players to the medical staff and the rest of the management,” said Kolisi.
Asked about the prospects of facing the British & Irish Lions next year in the Springbok jersey, the Bok captained said: “We are all very excited about the tour and we want to prepare as hard as we can to be ready for what promised to be a fantastic Test series.”
According to the awards organisers, 2020 may have been a year to forget for the South African sports industry, but it was still preceded by some ground-breaking innovation and creativity towards the end of 2019, and the response to the COVID-19 crisis has been nothing short of inspiring.
Michael Johnson, the former multiple Olympic gold medallist and 200m and 400m world record holder, delivered the keynote address.