Defence coach Shaun Edwards sees Cheslin Kolbe as the biggest threat to Wales’ chances of progressing to a first-ever World Cup final.
At Tuesday’s media conference in Tokyo, Edwards compared the Bok pocket rocket to former England World Cup-winner Jason Robinson, who scored a try in the 2003 World Cup final.
Robinson, a former dual-code international rugby league and union player, was similar in stature to Kolbe and also well known for his pace, sidestep and ability to beat defenders. Like Kolbe, Robinson was equally capable on the wing and at fullback.
‘If you want to watch a game of rugby, you want to go and watch Cheslin Kolbe,’ said the former Wales scrumhalf. ‘We’ll have to keep an eye on him.’
‘He’s one of the most dynamic players I’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough to play with Jason Robinson for many years. I was his captain at Wigan when he first came into the team there.
‘Kolbe is a similar player to Jason, incredibly explosive, short and defies [the assumption that] you have to be big to play the game of rugby.’
Wales will be hoping to limit the Bok flyer’s influence during Sunday’s semi-final, similarly to what hosts Japan managed to achieve with an accurate kicking game.
As was seen during the quarter-final between South Africa and the Brave Blossoms, the Springboks will again look to impose their physicality on their Welsh opponents. Edwards is fully aware of what to expect from the Bok forward pack but also knows the danger posed by the South Africans out wide.
‘They have got blowtorch speed on the edges,’ continued Edwards. ‘If there was a 4x100m relay race with all the teams in the World Cup, they would probably be the fastest.
‘I hope it is our biggest physical test yet. The Springboks have huge forwards who like to get over the advantage line.
‘We’ve had a decent record against them recently, but just like against France, nearly all the games have been one-score games.
‘That’s what is so exciting about this World Cup. You go into a game, you don’t know who’s going to win.’
Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images