Toulouse’s South African wing Cheslin Kolbe runs to score a try during their French Top14 rugby union match against Agen at The Ernest Wallon stadium in Toulouse in November. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP
Toulouse’s South African wing Cheslin Kolbe runs to score a try during their French Top14 rugby union match against Agen at The Ernest Wallon stadium in Toulouse in November. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Cheslin Kolbe happy to ’play anywhere’ for Toulouse

By AFP Time of article published Mar 4, 2021

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TOULOUSE – South African World Cup-winning wing Cheslin Kolbe said on Thursday he was happy to "play anywhere" to help Toulouse win the Top 14 title again.

Kolbe, who has scored nine tries in 12 outings in all competitions this season, is normally to be found on the wing, or occasionally at full-back.

But last weekend the Springbok took a step out of his "comfort zone" when he filled the gap caused by injuries and national call-ups to play at fly-half in the narrow win at La Rochelle that saw Toulouse leapfrog their opponents and return to the top of the table.

"I definitely enjoyed playing there the past weekend," said Kolbe on Thursday ahead of his side's home match against Brive.

"Obviously it's out of your comfort zone, for me I haven't played there for a very long time since school back in South Africa.

"Just anything to give back to the team and just make sure it has a positive impact on the team and the performance on the field.

"I'm happy to play wherever the team needs me and I'm happy we also got the win last week."

Kolbe had in fact already played at 10 under similar circumstances last February, on that occasion a narrow 30-27 defeat at Racing 92.

- 'Creating opportunities' -

During last Saturday's meeting with La Rochelle, which ended in a 14-11 victory, the pocket-sized South African packed away his tricks and produced a very conservative showing before the backs were reshuffled around the hour mark.

"For me playing at fly half was to give that edge to the team," said Kolbe.

"It wasn't about me looking for opportunities but to create opportunities for other players around me.

"If there are opportunities to exploit on the field I'm happy to do so, but I just wanted to play a simple game and obviously make sure that we always broke the advantage line.

"I obviously love playing on the wing but I don't mind playing wherever the team need me.

"I just want to make sure that whatever opportunity I get to be on the field and play this wonderful game and just express the talent that I'm blessed with."

With Romain Ntamack back in the Toulouse squad after two months out with a fractured jaw, there is a good chance Kolbe will not be needed at 10 again by Toulouse until February 2022.

By then the 27-year-old is hoping he will have pulled on a Springbok jersey again for the first time since scoring a try in the 2019 World Cup final as South Africa beat England 32-12.

"It's been a long time not playing international rugby now, a year, a year and a half," he said.

"The situation we're living now with Covid, you just have to adapt to the decisions out there.

"But definitely I miss international rugby. Hopefully the Springboks can play soon."

AFP

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