Kolbe's surprise admission ahead of Euro Cup Final
SPOTLIGHT: Cheslin Kolbe admitted the tension surrounding Toulouse’s quest for another Champions Cup title was affecting him.
Victory would see Toulouse, the current leaders of France’s Top 14, crowned champions of Europe for a record fifth time.
Toulouse will take on first-time finalists La Rochelle at Twickenham having not won the tournament since 2010.
Kolbe said he is feeling more nervous ahead of this weekend’s final than he did before the 2019 World Cup final.
The gifted wing starred as the Springboks triumphed at the World Cup in Japan, scoring a try in a 32-12 win over England in the final.
“I was fortunate enough to play in a few finals and funnily enough I just spoke to my wife last night [Tuesday] and said for some reason the final coming up this weekend just feels much more nerve-wracking than the final I have played in the World Cup,” said Kolbe
“I’m not too sure what the reason is for that. I know it is two great teams in France coming up against each other and the nerves, the butterflies are really starting to show, but that is a good sign as well. I just need to make sure that I prepare well throughout the week before we leave for England and I hopefully can calm down the nerves by the preparation that we have put in.”
He added: “I think it [nerves] is probably [partly due to] the long wait, Toulouse not getting the fifth title, and I think there is a bit of, not pressure, but expectations, from the public, from the club,” said Kolbe.
“Toulouse has got an incredible history with the incredible players it has produced throughout the years, and obviously, achieving so much with the Champions Cup and the Top 14.
“So, definitely a bit of history all around, but I think it is there to motivate us to, hopefully, succeed this coming Saturday.”
Kolbe is also looking forward to adding to his list of impressive achievements by facing the British and Irish Lions in July and August.
Given the combined side tour one of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia once every four years, many opposition players in the three Southern Hemisphere giants only get one chance in their careers to play in a Lions series.
“There is a lot of excitement for me, to be honest, playing in a final, having only been here for four years at Toulouse, and then hopefully being part of the Lions tour that is coming to South Africa,” Kolbe added.
“It would definitely be a highlight in my career and something that I would definitely love to be a part of.
“But first things first, we’ve got a final this weekend, and that’s where my all my energy and focus is vested into.”
AFP & @RugbyPass
With 10,000 fans set to return for the #HeinekenChampionsCup Final at Twickenham, we are BUZZING 🙌@StadeToulousain star Rynhardt Elstadt reflects on how special it is having the incredible support of European Rugby fans behind you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Zs2e16e1mO
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) May 18, 2021