Introducing JOB SWAP… a new and exciting feature to our magazine that will make your head spin!
From the very first time Siya Kolisi picked up a rugby ball, made his first positive hit or first fended his opposing fly half, it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to become a star. He had all the attributes to become an international athlete. He had size, speed and most importantly a fearless aggression that only the very best are born with. His rise from the from the impoverished Zwide township outside Port Elizabeth to a Bok jersey is well documented, and he is now considered one of South Africa’s youngest and most charismatic sporting stars!
In any NFL-related circles, the mention of the name Patrick Willis is met with a great deal of reverence and respect. Quite simply, he is the flag bearer for NFL defensive play and is highly regarded by all those in the sport both on, and off the field. His rise to NFL-icon status was no easy road though. He grew up in life-threatening poverty and from the age of 10 was forced to take care of his younger siblings by working in the local cotton fields. At the age of 17 he left his abusive and alcoholic father and moved him and his siblings to a nearby trailer park.
It was at around this age that he began to be recognized for his skills on the field and from that moment on he never looked back. He plays with a ruthless intensity that few have ever seen and his ability to cover ground, make tackles and disrupt plays has turned him into the NFL’s premier linebacker you see perform for the San Francisco 49er’s week in and week out. Since entering the league in 2007 he has been voted to the Pro Bowl every year and has led the league in tackles for 3 of his 7 seasons. Simply put, the man is an absolute beast in the middle of the park and he commands all the territory around him.
Back to Siya. There is no doubting that he would be a stud in the NFL and he has all the attributes required to dominate the sport from the middle linebacker position. Think not? Well, think of it this way: He led the Stormers in tackle statistics last year, is regarded as one of the most physically imposing young players in the sport, has enough speed to outrun many players in his position and his rugby acumen coupled with his awareness translates perfectly to diagnosing plays from the linebacker position. He’s a perfect fit in the number 52 jersey, emulating Patrick Willis as the NFL’s biggest linebacker talent.
Just imagine…Siya Kolisi in the Red and Gold pleats, shredding blockers the same way he bounces fly halves and swallowing up running backs the same way he does to men twice that size in Super Rugby. The conditioning he requires to be an international loose forward would also ensure he could stay on the field for all 3 downs and cover receivers across the field. At 23 his body is still a work in progress and if he adjusted his training regime to more power-related NFL-type workouts, the thought of what he could become is terrifying. I could think of nothing worse as a quarterback then looking up at the line of scrimmage and seeing Siya Kolisi’s face staring down at you. Meat on a stick!
A man who knows how to channel his aggression, plays with no fear and no regrets and knows about real struggle and hardship… he would be the ultimate weapon. A warrior linebacker.