With Willie le Roux not getting close to the form that he had in 2014, when he was one of the five nominees for the World Player of the Year award, the Bok No 15 jersey may be up for grabs for Coetzee’s first series in charge, a three-Test schedule that starts at Kolbe’s home ground of Newlands on June 11.
Coetzee is likely to stick to experienced players in his first squad – which is why Duane Vermeulen may be named as the new Bok captain for the Irish Tests.
But Coetzee wasn’t scared to back the youth while at the Stormers. He brought through new talents such as Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nic Groom, Demetri Catrakilis, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh and of course Kolbe.
So, with the Stormers fullback thriving in the new-found freedom under Robbie Fleck, he is showcasing his vast array of skills.
Kolbe is not just a speedster who can counter-attack, as he has the ability to kick well off both feet, gets well into the air under the high ball, and is fearless in defence.
But his X-factor on attack does set him apart from other players, which is why he is making a strong bid for Bok selection, with Coetzee set to announce his first squad on May 28 or 29.
It would be a huge surprise if Kolbe doesn’t make the group, but once there, he can prove to Coetzee that he should run out at Newlands on June 11.
The 22-year-old, though, is concentrating on his next game, against the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday (1.55pm kickoff). “Luckily I stay far away from papers or anything like that! I don’t want to get distracted by anything. I know what’s our goal as a squad, and focusing on what my job is within the team environment for the Saturday,” Kolbe said before flying with the Stormers to the Far East, via Dubai, on Tuesday.
“I’m definitely enjoying it (the Stormers’ more attacking style of play) – if you are not enjoying your rugby, it is no use if you are playing, as it will just go downhill. I’m definitely happy as a player, and where we are as a team. We can just grow and get much better. You just have to put in the hard work in training and hope the result comes your way.
“The Sunwolves are a team that play a very high tempo of rugby, and they enjoy a loose game.”
Kolbe is also still in the running to play sevens at the Rio Olympics in August, but he should rather be in the Springbok team.
Original source: Kolbe should be Bok No 15