Cheslin Kolbe

Learn everything you need to know about Springboks hero Cheslin Kolbe right here on Rugby365


Cheslin Kolbe is a force to be reckoned with in world rugby, recognised for his speed, agility, power and strength. Constantly having to prove himself - due to his small stature - has instilled passion, hard work, commitment and a desire to prove everyone wrong. This fueled his journey to the top of the game where he became a World Cup-winner and the French Top 14's Player of the Year.

The small wing was brought up in Kraaifontein, a northern suburb of Cape Town which also produced 2016 400m Olympic gold medallist - and Kolbe's cousin - Wayde van Niekerk.

Kolbe's father, Andrew, played a big role in his life, not only as a former rugby player himself, but as a role model to the young Cheslin, teaching him about routine and discipline.

The path Cheslin Kolbe took to wearing the Green and Gold in 2018 was via the 2016 Rio Olympics when South Africa won the Sevens bronze medal. He had been overlooked for so long he became used to it. But when Allister Coetzee, who coached Kolbe at the Stormers, took over as Springbok coach in 2016, there was a feeling that the wing would finally get his chance.

But as an unused squad member throughout all four games of South Africa's winless end-of-year tour in 2016, he felt his Springbok chances were fading. At the same time, Toulouse had come calling, and outside of rugby he and his wife were expecting their first child.

At the beginning of 2017, the Springboks instilled a 30-cap rule for which Cheslin Kolbe fell short by precisely 30 caps. He knew a move to France would extinguish the last chance he had of representing his country. In August 2017, the Kolbe's packed up their Cape Town home and headed for Toulouse.

His introduction to French rugby was tough. He couldn't understand the language and basically played on instinct. But having the coaches afford him the freedom to express himself on the field, boosted his confidence. 

It was clear that Cheslin Kolbe was still not on Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus' radar, so he was ready to throw himself boots and all into Toulouse's onslaught in the Top 14. 

As fate would have it, the call did come and Kolbe was on his way to Australia to join the Springboks in Brisbane, where he also made his test debut. 

As a regular in the Bok set-up since, his Rugby World Cup call-up was expected. 

And now he can claim that title – some vindication for the countless times people doubted him.


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