Cheslin Kolbe was happy to just to ’put a smile on people’s faces’ after match winning performance for SA ’A’
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In typical fashion, Cheslin Kolbe didn’t want to speak about himself when accepting the Man of the Match award following South Africa A’s 17-13 victory over the British and Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
Never mind the fact that he had produced the moment of the match – and was the most dangerous back on show – when he scythed in between Chris Harris and Louis Rees-Zammit to set up a terrific try for captain Lukhanyo Am in the first half.
Kolbe was his usual busy self: stepping defenders, claiming the high ball, flying into ball-carriers… although there wasn’t a drop goal from 50 metres this time. But he is human after all, and that was illustrated when Harris got his revenge to bump Kolbe out of the way later in the game.
“I give the Man of the Match (award) to the whole team,” the 27-year-old said in the post-match TV interview with SuperSport.
“Just for this wonderful team, I think the character that the boys have shown tonight was just incredible. Once you pull over that jersey, it’s just character and heart, and I think the boys just showed that.
🙌 It's all over at Cape Town Stadium, where South Africa 'A have put in a great second half defensive display to beat @lionsofficial by 17-13.#CastleLionsSeries #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever pic.twitter.com/GwUaruUPYw— Springboks (@Springboks) July 14, 2021
“Just the level of intensity was definitely a massive step up compared to the Top 14. Just great to be back on the field after a long absence since the World Cup. So, just looking to keep improving, and working with the boys and coaching staff.”
The Toulouse superstar noted that the South Africans had done incredibly well to front up physically to a Lions side that had played four matches before Wednesday.
“The Lions have a few games in hand, and it was our proper first hit-out as a group. The character was what we wanted. We didn’t have that many training sessions to prepare ourselves, but we just had to show what this jersey means to us, and especially what our country is going through at the moment,” Kolbe said.
“Just to put a smile on people’s faces and give hope to a lot of people out there.”
Now imagine what Kolbe could do in the first Test against the Lions on July 24, once he has had a chance to prepare properly with the Springboks…