WATCH: This is what Cheslin Kolbe could bring to the Springboks
CAPE TOWN - You only have to look at the almost-magical way in which he set up a try for his team, Toulouse, against Lyon last week to be reminded of his sorcerous attacking ability.
With his side trailing 10-6, Kolbe got the ball deep in his own half and used his instinctive vision to start-up a run which took him all the way into Lyon’s 22, before offloading to a team mate to finish.
It was a gliding run. An amazingly silky run. And the best part is that his trademark step and those 'you-have-no-chance-of-catching-me' swerves aren’t the only things the 24-year-old can bring. It’s only a few of the attributes which made him a fan-favourite at Newlands and, more recently, Stade Ernest-Wallon.
Kolbe’s inclusion in Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus’ 31-man squad for the Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship can easily be considered a delayed call, seeing as how he never really made it onto the radar of other Bok coaches, despite ongoing pulsating form.
And it’s great Erasmus has made good on his word of being bold in his selections, although a Springbok call-up for a player of Kolbe’s calibre should hardly be seen as a daring move. And the delay is a pity, really. But it’s finally happened.
The former Junior Springbok was of course included in the Bok touring squad for the End of Year Tour in 2016 (but would be considered only for the match against the Barbarians), and the fact he returned to South Africa without having played a single minute in that game boggled the mind.
So he can hardly be blamed for packing up and heading to France, where he became a massive hit in his debut season in the French Top 14 - where he was also voted the best foreign Top 14 import by the French media.
Yesterday, Proudfoot said: “We are excited to have Cheslin in the side.” “I think he deserves his chance in the group because I think he has really performed well (in France for Toulouse). I obviously know him well from my coaching days at the Stormers, and he is the type of player who can really create something out of nothing.”
That is no exaggeration, he really can. And I hope he gets to show it on international level. Where Kolbe will be used in the backline is yet to be seen, and although he can play on the wing as well, a stint at fullback would be first prize for the dangerous counter-attacker.
Where he plays surely can play a role, but for now, let’s just celebrate it. Let’s celebrate his call-up. Let’s celebrate long-awaited chance. Let’s celebrate the attacking maestro, Cheslin Kolbe.