Cheslin Kolbe: 'I had to make a tough decision'
“There is this saying that dynamite comes in small packages‚” Cheslin Kolbe pointed out to a reporter who asked about his not so considerable physical dimensions.
Kolbe‚ who has been restored for fitness after missing the last game against Canada‚ has been one of the stars at this Rugby World Cup.
His return is much anticipated and although he made the reference about the explosive stick‚ it has been his steady all round game that has helped elevate him in the general estimation.
“I love to have ball in general play‚” he said when asked what gives him the greatest thrill on the field.
“Having one-on-one opportunities within a game and create opportunities for the players around me.
“There are a lot of situations in the game where you need to be at your best you can be whether it is high ball‚ defence and running with ball in hand.
"Your all round game has to be up there. You have to be mentally and physically prepared.
“I enjoy running with ball in hand and whenever I get an opportunity I keep on having fun.”
The irony is the 25-year-old was almost lost to South African rugby.
Had SA Rugby not adopted a more open-ended eligibility ruling his move to Toulouse in 2017 might have ended his prospects of playing for the Boks.
The decision to go wasn’t done on a whim.
“For me at that stage of my rugby career‚ starting a young family‚ I had to make a tough decision‚" he said.
"I knew I needed a new challenge in my career.
"Getting an opportunity to go abroad was a challenge I wanted to face. It wasn’t easy‚ as a player but joining Toulouse has been a good decision for me. They welcomed me with open arms.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make because you want to play in South Africa and you want to represent your country playing in Super Rugby.
"God has different plans for different reasons. He looked after me in that sense and it just shows it doesn’t matter where you are in life if you play the best rugby there are coaches who look at players abroad. Then there is an opportunity to represent your country.”
Kolbe is expected to be back in the starting line-up for Sunday’s RWC quarterfinal against Japan.
“The ankle has healed really well‚" he said.
"It is good to be on the field with the boys again and get some grass under the boots. I’m thankful and blessed for being healed in such a short time and I’m confident and ready.”