South Africa's Siya Kolisi wins Rugby Union Writers' Club personality of year award
Last Updated: 13/01/20 10:40pm
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi has been voted the Rugby Union Writers' Club personality of the year for 2019.
Kolisi succeeds Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton as holder of the Pat Marshall Memorial Award after being recognised at the RUWC's annual dinner in central London following a poll of its' 200-plus members.
The inspirational 28-year-old was at the helm for South Africa's World Cup triumph last autumn, when England were defeated 32-12 in a one-sided final at Yokohama Stadium.
A hard-tackling openside who is strong over the ball, Kolisi was appointed as the Springboks' first black Test captain in 2018 and has presided over a series victory against England and Rugby Championship glory, as well as lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy for the third time in the nation's history.
His ascent to the summit of the game is all the more remarkable given he was raised in poverty by his grandmother in a township outside Port Elizabeth.
Kolisi follows in the footsteps of previous greats to have been acclaimed by the RUWC such as Gareth Edwards, Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jonny Wilkinson and Dan Carter.
The list of nominees in contention for the 2019 award was dominated by South Africa with head coach Rassie Erasmus and scrum-half Faf De Klerk also present, while Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and Japan talisman Michael Leitch completed the line-up.
Former Scotland captain Tom Smith has received the RUWC's Special Award in recognition of his service to the game as he battles cancer.
The 48-year-old prop won 61 international caps between 1997 and 2005 and was a key member of the Lions Test team that completed a 2-1 series victory over South Africa in 1997.
Smith, who played for the Caledonian Reds, Glasgow Caledonians, Brive and Northampton, now lives in the south of France.