How many of you remember that iconic moment when Francois Pienaar and his team won the 1995 Rugby World Cup?
Who knows of the Beast?
How about Bryan Habana, know that name?
I am pretty sure, even if you aren’t a rugby fan you know these names. You could probably recognise most of them as well.
Now let’s see if you know who Rachel Kolisi is? Marli De Villiers?
Maybe Aimee Steenkamp rings a bell?
I didn’t really know much about these women until recently. In fact when I watch the Springboks play the last thing I think about is the women who support them, their wives and partners.
The team at Landrover are trying to change this and invited a few of us to get to know these women a little better. The reality is that without these women, our players would not be able to do what they do on the field.
These women are not just the wives or girlfriends. They are definitely not just standing behind their husbands, waiting in the shadows. They are all strong, independent woman, raising families, running businesses and making a difference.
As a nation, we need to celebrate these women a little more because their contribution to a players performance is as important as their diet or training regime.
I got to spend some time with Rachel Kolisi, the wife of the current Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi. I could have spent ages chatting to her, not only about being a rugby players wife but also a fellow mom of 4.
Rachel and Siya have been together for over 6 years and the couple are raising 4 children, ranging in age from 16 to a year old. The couple adopted Siya’s two younger siblings shortly after their son Nic was born. This meant they went from a couple to a family of 5 in only a few weeks. Their youngest daughter Kenziah is a little over a year old (and the cutest little thing)
How does she do it?
We all know the juggles we face as mothers on a daily basis with school runs, extra muruals and more. Rachel juggles these commitments alone for a lot of the time. She does not have family living close by and Siya travels a lot, often for months at a time, leaving her alone to keep the wheels turning. She does have help in the form of a helper who is there to watch the children when she needs to travel or has work commitments.
Their older two children are 16 and 12 years old which are both tricky ages and Rachel admits their family dynamic can get a little tricky sometimes but both of the older children are doing well, which means the couple are managing to navigate their reality pretty well.
I asked Rachel what advice/tips would she give to other moms juggling it all on their own. Her answer surprised me, she didn’t say “Planning my day helps” or “Outsourcing is key” or something practical like that. Her advice was something even more valuable. She said that when you get to the end of the day, when everyone is asleep and you managed to pull it all off, pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
I loved this advice because it is something we so often forget to do. We all get through the day differently but we all get through the day and when we do, we need to remind ourselves how awesome we actually are.
What does she do?
Rachel has used her status as Siya’s wife to launch her own brand as an influencer. She also does a lot of work in her community, building libraries and improving the lives of those around her.
What about date night?
This is a struggle for most if us but we all know how important it is to make the time for our partners. It is even more important when you are in a relationship like this. Rachel knows how important this is and from the way she talks, it is clear that they make the time for one another.
The nature of what Siya does, does also allow for some kid-free time. The couple recently did a whirlwind trip to Paris to attend the Laureus Sports Awards.
The Wives Club
When I arrived at the event the wives and partners of the players formed a very tight circle around another and I asked Rachel about the relationships that exist between the wives, because they really are the only ones who truly understand what it is like to be the wife of a professional rugby player. Rachel traveled to the world cup 4 years ago with her youngest son who was a year at the time. She said it was very much a team effort and the other partners who were there helped out without her even having to ask. They are very much a unique team on their own.
I learnt so much during our chat, like the fact that any travel to matches overseas by partners is for their own account. It is also clear that these women need a little more of the spotlight because they are doing incredible things while their husbands are off making their country proud, all without acknowledgment. They may not be running on the field for 90 minutes but their contribution is by no means less important.
Land Rover recognise these women and the role they play and are doing what they can to push them from the wings onto the stage a little more.
Have you ever thought about the role these women play in our sportsmen’s lives?
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to attend the event and interview of the of the wives.