Cheslin Kolbe looks to sidestep Wallaby fullback Dane Haylett-Petty in Port Elizabeth. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

He has seldom got the ball in real space in his short Springbok career, yet Cheslin Kolbe has already scored twice in four Tests.

However, regular visitors to Newlands over the years know full-well just how lethal the hot-stepping Kolbe can be in the smallest of gaps on a rugby pitch.

After leaving the Stormers and Western Province for Toulouse in France last year, there were murmurs that Kolbe would be “swallowed up” by the giant backs in the French Top 14.

The 24-year-old from Kraaifontein has dispelled such negative notions time and again in South Africa, and has continued on that path in south-west France at Toulouse with some breathtaking tries.

And Kolbe was at it again at the weekend, upon his return to his club following Bok duty in the Rugby Championship.

Coming up against his national teammate Francois Louw, Kolbe set the Recreation Ground alight with a terrific piece of individual brilliance against Bath in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.

With the English club well ahead at 17-7 before halftime, Kolbe sparked the comeback for Toulouse. 

As he received the ball just before the Bath 10m line from a long pass by flyhalf Zack Holmes, Kolbe immediately steps inside opposing wing Darren Atkins, and then left Welsh stalwart centre Jamie Roberts for dead with another step off the right foot.

Kolbe drew the last defender after that, before putting Toulouse No 13 Sofiane Guitoune away for a sensational try that set social media abuzz with references such as “Kolbe could step you inside a phone booth”.

He didn’t leave it there either, producing a few more devastating pieces of footwork.

Hopefully Bok coach Rassie Erasmus watched the game, as he would’ve seen what Kolbe could do when he is given some time on the ball, ahead of the November tour to Europe...

Of course, in the same game, Bath fullback Freddie Burns showed what you shouldn’t do after crossing the line, and it cost his team dearly as Toulouse won 22-20.


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