By Oli Gamp For Mailonline
Published: 23:35 GMT, 31 October 2019 | Updated: 12:33 GMT, 1 November 2019
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus admits he was 'naive' to think making Siya Kolisi the nation's first black captain wouldn't affect the flanker - and said his displays suffered initially.
Kolisi was appointed Springboks captain last year having led the side temporarily when Eben Etzebeth was injured, but was handed the armband permanently by Erasmus shortly after.
Erasmus believes the 28-year-old struggled on the pitch at first in his new role as he got to grips with the significance of being captain after decades of apartheid rule in South Africa, when only white players were allowed to play for the national side.
Rassie Erasmus said Siya Kolisi was 'caught off guard' after his landmark appointment in 2018
But with Kolisi set to lead his country out for the Rugby World Cup final against England on Saturday, he could cap a memorable year by lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.
And his coach says while the magnitude of the role may have been daunting for Kolisi initially, admitting the reaction took him by surprise, he added that the player got 'better and better' with each game.
'It was a sudden thing, and I was caught a bit off guard- maybe a bit naive - in thinking that this wouldn't be such a massive thing for him,' said Erasmus.
Erasmus feels the Springboks captaincy led to Kolisi's performances taking a hit