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Racing owner gets personal in bizzare public criticism of Siya Kolisi

By Josh Raisey
Racing92's South African flanker Siya Kolisi reacts after the European Rugby Champions Cup pool 2 match between Bath and Racing 92 at The Rec in Bath, south-west England on January 14, 2024. Bath won the match 29 - 25. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Racing 92 owner Jacky Lorenzetti has accused Siya Kolisi of being “transparent” in their Top 14 semi-final defeat to Bordeaux-Begles at the weekend amid a scathing assessment of the South Africa captain’s first season in Paris.


The double World Cup-winning skipper arrived at La Defense Arena last year after lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, and made a “remarkable” start to life in sky blue and white according to Lorenzetti.

However, the Racing chief believes the hand injury the Springbok sustained in March, and subsequent surgery, was something that he did not recover from. Though the 33-year-old did make a return to action a month later, Lorenzetti feels he was unable to recapture the form he had previously shown.

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Speaking to French outlet Midi Olympique shortly after his side’s season came to a close, Lorenzetti pulled no punches in his assessment of Kolisi’s season, comparing him to his predecessor Wenceslas Lauret, and even accusing the Springbok of being overweight.

He does, however, have faith that Kolisi will come good next season, with the club set to be further bolstered by the arrival of former England captain Owen Farrell.

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“He had a remarkable start to the season, where he was a unifier off the field,” he said in the interview.

“The break was harmful to him. He gained weight, lost form and yesterday he was transparent. […] We miss it.


“In the back row, we used to have an ultra-present warrior, a warrior called Wenceslas Lauret. For the moment, Siya does not let us forget him.

“But we think that next year, that will change.”

The 83-cap Springbok was not the only Racing player in the firing line as Lorenzetti picked apart another trophy-less season for the Parisians. Another new recruit, Fiji’s Josua Tuisova, was also lambasted, and accused of not making the impact they expected after arriving from Lyon.

“He didn’t bring anything, we must be clear,” he said. “It was not the impact player we expected.”

In the Fijian’s defence, he only made his debut in May after a six-month lay-off due to a knee injury sustained during the World Cup, so he can be excused for struggling to instantly return to his destructive best.




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Dlala 29 days ago

He’s not really a very good player, anyhow. Been a passenger in the Springboks squad for too long.

Jon 29 days ago

If anyone knows the French, you know they speak a different language.

Chris 29 days ago

😄 Siya and Eben are on paid holidays between Bok camps. I think they care somewhat, but really they are just earning a living until Bok camp starts.

Bull Shark 30 days ago

I didn’t read anything scathing in that assessment. Not untrue. Just unnecessary.

Someone should advise French owners that managing the performance of key personnel by bleating to the media about them is obnoxious.

MattJH 30 days ago

I imagine the $$$ he is earning would buy a whole lot of “yeah whatever mate”.

Sinead 30 days ago

I think any coach or owner singling out a player like that for public critism is just bang out of order. Stuff that has to be said to a player should be said one to one in private. I feel sorry for those players.

Flankly 30 days ago

Spelling bizarre as “bizzare” in your headline is bizarre.

Nice clickbait comments from the Mr Lorenzetti, the famously successful winner of rugby prizes.

If only Mr Kolisi had some medals to prove his credentials. That would make Mr Lorenzetti look a little stupid.

Peter 31 days ago

Usual comment by a Frenchman. Visit North Paris and the slums that the French consign black foreigners to and you will appreciate what I’m writing.

Dan 31 days ago

Just another overrated SH player who.can’t hack superior NH comps. A tale as old as time..

pabst 32 days ago

Here we go, I called this last year, French people are impossible, narcissistic and arrogant. They are shameful.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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