Kolbe has big dreams


This could be the year of green and gold, and, to a lesser extent, maybe even silver or bronze.

Kolbe has arguably been the best and most consistent South African No 15 in Super Rugby, and a taste of Test rugby seems to be right on his doorstep in 2016. But there is also a big possibility that he will be included in the South African Sevens team for the Rio Olympics in August.

It would be a monumental achievement for the former Brackenfell High star if he can do that double, especially because there was once a perception that he is too small to even play rugby.

This year Kolbe has a great chance to play for the Springboks, not only because of his form, but because new coach Allister Coetzee said that the size of a player’s thighs isn’t the only selection criteria for the national team.

Kolbe is one of the most exciting players in world rugby, a player with a phenomenal ability to step, and a turn of speed that will give you whiplash. But he also has quite a big boot for a small guy, while he is also solid under the high ball.

There was some concern about his one-on-one defending last year, but this boy is brave and he has made some fantastic try-saving tackles this year.

Off the field, though, in front of the media, he is the direct opposite of the guy who expresses himself week in and week out like an artist staring at a blank canvas. He is quite coy, and careful not to sound arrogant when you ask him about his Bok ambitions.

But while he says he isn’t concentrating on the Springboks, or the Sevens, at the moment, one senses that deep down in his soul, he has this burning desire to wear the green and gold in both forms of the game. Certainly, that will not just be a triumph for him, but for exciting, but small, rugby players all over South Africa.

“Most of us at the Stormers know coach Allister, he is a great guy and great coach,” Kolbe said when asked if it is an advantage for him to have Coetzee as the Springbok coach.

“I will just take any situation as it comes and I just try to do my best on the field, and hopefully at the end of the day it does get noticed. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself and I’m just going to stay positive and do my best on the field.

“Luckily for me I stay far away from the papers and that sort of thing, because I don’t want to get distracted. I’m just focusing on what my job is in the team environment, and this coming Saturday.”

Kolbe played in a few Sevens tournaments for the Blitzboks at the start of the Sevens World Series, before heading back to the Stormers for the start of Super Rugby.

His obvious ability on a rugby field makes him a prime candidate for Rio but, with only 12 players allowed to travel to the Games, it’s certainly going to be a dogfight.

Kolbe won’t be playing in the last two tournaments in Paris and London to prove himself worthy of a spot at the Olympics. But he will still be supporting the players that are at those tournaments.

“I have been following the guys and it’s been good to see that they are playing well in the tournaments. There have been a few close calls, but that will only make you stronger at the end of the day ahead of the Olympics,” Kolbe said.

“Unfortunately only 12 guys can go, and I’m sure the coach will pick the 12 best players for the tournament. If you enjoy your rugby and it comes through on the field, hopefully people will take notice.”

Kolbe’s natural game has certainly benefited from the Stormers’ new attacking approach. They are bringing him into the game a lot more, using his ability to glide past defenders to set up tries.

Cape Argus

Original source: Kolbe has big dreams