Rugby World Cup champion’s ‘growth as a disciple of Jesus is amazing’

Rugby World Cup winner Siya Kolisi has testified to God after South Africa won the competition for a record-breaking fourth time.

Posting on Instagram, the Springboks’ captain referenced the team’s consecutive victories in 2019 and 2023 with the words: “Same God”. In the images, the name Jesus is clearly written on his wristbands as he points to the sky and holds aloft the Webb Ellis Cup.

Speaking to Premier, Bruce Nadin, National Director of Sports Chaplaincy South Africa, said: “His growth as a disciple of Jesus has been amazing. It’s so easy to go out on the field, you know, and say, I give all the glory and honour to God, et cetera, et cetera when you’re winning. But what I’d say about Siya is that he’s authentically trying to live out his faith.”

‘Identity in Jesus’

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Nadin said Kolisi attended a series of events for sports players where they could meet to worship God without fear of pressure for pictures and autographs.

Nadin reflected: “I think he enjoyed just coming and the focus being on Jesus.”

But the chaplain warned that Christians shouldn’t elevate athletes above Jesus and remember they are “ordinary, everyday pilgrims seeking to work out what it means to follow Jesus”.

“So I’d say pray for them. Pray that they wouldn’t find their identity primarily in their performance or in what people say about them, or in their celebrity or in what they possess. But that they would find it secure in the person of Jesus.”


Kolisi attended church as a child and identified as a Christian, but in 2019 his wife persuaded him to find a Christian mentor, who told him: “Siya, you drink a lot, you fool around with women, you go to strip clubs. You post on social media about your faith in Christ, but you’re lying to yourself and everyone else.”

After this, he said: “I realized I wasn’t living according to what I was calling myself: a follower of Christ. I was getting by, but I hadn’t decided to fully commit myself to Jesus Christ and start living according to His way”.

“I knew I either had to change my life, or lose everything. I decided to lose my life and find it in Christ”.

“This new life has given me a peace in my heart I’d never experienced before. Now that I have given everything to God, nothing else affects me. I now live and play with the freedom of knowing His plan will always happen, and at the end of the day, that’s all I care about!”


In September, one of the world’s top tennis players knelt in thankful prayer after becoming the youngest player to win the US Open since 1999.

Coco Gauff, a member of Saint John Missionary Baptist Church in Florida, won her first Grand Slam title by defeating world number one Aryna Sabalenka in the final.

In an interview with Today, the 19-year-old explained that when she knelt on the court: “I was just saying thank you, and I understood all the tough times were just to make that moment even sweeter, I think if it came easy, I wouldn’t feel as appreciative as I did in that moment”.

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