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Racing 92 statement: Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The new Stuart Lancaster era at Racing 92 has launched with a signing coup, the Parisian club confirming on Tuesday that the 2019 Springboks World Cup winning skipper Siya Kolisi will join them at the end of this year’s World Cup through to the end of the 2025/26 Top 14 season.

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Ex-England boss Lancaster, who is currently the senior coach at Leinster in Ireland, will take control of Racing for the 2023/24 campaign and Kolisi, who is still the South African skipper, has been confirmed as his first marquee signing.

A club statement on the signing of the 31-year-old Springboks back-rower read: “Racing 92 are very pleased to announce the signing of Siya Kolisi. He is committed until 2026 and will join Ciel et Blanc at the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. This signing is part of a broader long-term collaboration agreement between the Racing 92 and Cell C Sharks clubs.

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“Different areas have been defined, including an exchange of skills in rugby schools, training centres and the respective professional teams. Beyond the exceptional player, the captain of the world champion South African national team, Siya Kolisi, is known for his commitment to education and social cohesion.

“He has become a real source of inspiration through all the societal actions and leads beyond the field of play. With his arrival at the club after the 2023 World Cup, Racing 92 are proud to have in its ranks an athlete committed to society. It is therefore quite natural that the club, already invested in solidarity initiatives, will join the initiatives it leads.”

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Racing president Jacky Lorenzetti said: “The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level show at Paris La Defense Arena. His deep culture of victory and his natural leadership make him a very great player who doubles as a deeply humanist man. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”

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Kolisi added: “I’m very enthusiastic about the idea of joining Racing 92 after the 2023 Rugby World Cup, a visionary club that I have always admired. I would like to thank all those involved in Racing 92 and the Cell C Sharks for allowing me to take up this new challenge. Racing 92 have great ambitions on the ground but are also very encouraging with societal projects which correspond to my personal values and mission.”

Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said: “Siya has been an instrumental and much-loved member of the Cell C Sharks family since his arrival two years ago. His well-documented and commendable leadership qualities extend far beyond the playing field and this is none more so evident than his involvement with the launch of the players first programme, as well as his commitment to the expansion of the Sharks brand to a global market.

“His move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black and white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans.”

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