TOYOTA CITY – Cheslin Kolbe's jet shoes caught the eye in South Africa's opening 23-13 Rugby World Cup Pool B loss to New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday, providing an 'x-factor' that bamboozled even the world's best defensive line.
The diminutive Springbok may not have the power of other wings in the competition, but he possesses pace to burn, a wicked side-step, accuracy under the high ball and bravery on defence that belies his relatively small frame.
The cousin of 2016 Olympic gold medallist and 400-metres world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, speed is in his genes, but what he is showing now is a rugby brain to match that makes him one of the most dangerous backline players in Japan.
The 25-year-old is an example of a South African player who had to leave the country’s shores to take his craft to the next level, signing for French Top 14 side Toulouse from the Stormers in 2017.
His improvement from a raw youngster to an accomplished international in two years has been impressive, with his nine carries totalling 118-metres against New Zealand almost double the number of any other player on the pitch.