TOKYO – The World Cup's opening weekend has produced some scintillating rugby and also announced the arrival of the ‘excitement machine’.
South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe, above, all dancing feet and searing pace, was his team's standout performer in Yokohama on Saturday night, even though the Boks proved unable to resist New Zealand’s attacking prowess as the All Blacks ran out 23-13 winners.
It could have been different, however, had Cheslin - who made 118m in nine carries, almost double anyone else on the pitch, and beat 11 men along the way - managed to escape a last-ditch tackle by Richie Mo’unga after another stunning surge during the second half.
That was a moment All Blacks coach Steve Hansen described as "a match-winner, probably – or close to it" as the score was 17-13 to New Zealand at the time.
Kolbe, who won a Rugby Sevens bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the same Games at which his cousin Wayde van Niekerk claimed gold in the 400m, had South Africa fans on their feet every time he got the ball.