CAPE TOWN – Over the next few weeks, our rugby writers will be debating their Springbok choices from No 15 to No 1 for the upcoming series against the British & Irish Lions. Today we focus on No 14 …
Mike Greenaway’s choice: Cheslin Kolbe
There probably won’t be an easier selection than this one.
Since scoring that memorable try in the World Cup final, running around a bemused Owen Farrel, Kolbe has somehow got even better for his French club Toulouse.
Video clips abound of his “moments of magic” and many a story argues that he is the best player on the planet.
The only question is who will back him up? Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber knows he cannot go wrong with Sbu Nkosi, the combative Sharks right wing who is so good in the air.
A red hot form man, though, is Madosh Tambwe. He is loving life at the Bulls after moving from the Sharks, and just about everything he touches in the Rainbow Cup turns to gold.
It seems like Kolbe has continued on from where he left England captain Owen Farrell on the ground during the Rugby World Cup final.
Kolbe has been at the forefront of French club Toulouse’s run to the European Champions Cup triumph, and has even performed as a flyhalf and fullback as well.
But while the 27-year-old is at the top of his game, he won’t be able to play in every single Test this year, considering his club commitments and packed Bok schedule.
The likes of Madosh Tambwe and Rosco Specman are other candidates in the mix, although the Cheetahs man has not had an opportunity to play recently.
So, Sharks No 14 Sbu Nkosi would be my alternate pick when Kolbe needs to be rested.
Morgan Bolton’s choice: Cheslin Kolbe
I mean, could it be anyone else but Kolbe?
Usually we are supposed to give a short argument of why we believe it should be the player we have selected, but that all rather seems superfluous when the pick is Kolbe.
But here we go: He is arguably one of the best – if not the best – rugby players in the world right now. His try at the 2019 World Cup still brings a tear to the eye.
Makazola Mampimpi is also a fine No 14 who must be in the mix, but if I were to choose a player out of left field, then I would give Madosh Tambwe a go, if the DRCborn Bulls player is eligible to play for South Africa.
Wynona Louw’s choice: Cheslin Kolbe
Can there even be a debate here?
Kolbe has been an absolute superstar for Toulouse, playing a monumental role in their run to Champions Cup success.
But, more importantly, how ridiculously good was he for the Springboks during and building up to the World Cup? He is the best player in the world and he simply has no equal … not even on the domestic front (and there is no shortage of talent here).
While someone like S’bu Nkosi would easily make any other international side out wide given his power, pace, and overall quality as a winger, there is no doubt as to who has made the biggest impact where speed merchants are concerned.
Kolbe in that No 14 jumper is a sure thing.