Kolisi: Being named Bok captain affected my game
Cape Town - Siya Kolisi says that becoming South Africa's first black Test captain definitely had an impact on his game.
The media hype surrounding Kolisi's appointment ahead of the 2018 international season was undeniable, and when Kolisi led the Boks out for the first time against England in Johannesburg in June it was considered one of the country's most important sporting moments.
Kolisi would go on to win 7 of his 13 Tests as Bok captain last year, with a famous win over the All Blacks in Wellington the obvious highlight.
But, speaking to CNN World Rugby, the 27-year-old acknowledged that the hype that came with the captaincy was a lot to take in and that it impacted the way he performed on the field.
"I don't like the spotlight. I'm very shy," Kolisi said in the interview.
"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 coach would tell you that my game wasn't up to standard.
"When they announced it, it was like I'd never seen anything like that 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."
Since then, though, Kolisi has returned to form and the Boks are looking a side capable of competing for the trophy at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
"We've broken through some barriers I thought we couldn't do," said Kolisi.
"The respect is back in the Springbok jersey.
"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.