Cheslin Kolbe says the British & Irish Lions have a dynamic backline composition, but believes his knowledge of playing against them in the northern hemisphere could be advantageous to South Africa.
Kolbe was included a star-studded South Africa A lineup, akin to a Test team, for their midweek match against the Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.
On his part, Warren Gatland also named a strong lineup for the fixture, with the backline consisting of Anthony Watson, Louis Rees-Zammit, Chris Harris, Bundee Aki, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar and captain Conor Murray.
In addition, they also have the likes of Stuart Hogg, Owen Farrell, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell and new squad member Marcus Smith, to name a few, available for selection.
When asked about the quality of backline players in the Lions squad, Kolbe said: “They are a very well-balanced team, a mixture of big boys and backline players that are willing to run with the ball.
“It’s guys that I’ve competed against in Europe, so I have a little input on what they can do. In general, they are an amazing group and, for us, it is just another challenge,” he explained.
On a personal note, Kolbe has had a superb season at club level, with his French club being crowned Top 14 and European champions. But the diminutive wing says he is now solely focusing on his role with the Springboks.
“My focus has shifted,” he admitted. “Being part of the Springbok set-up after such a long layoff since the World Cup, means I’m definitely excited.
“I’m fortunate to be part of this wonderful team and thankful I get an opportunity to pull that green and gold jersey over my head again.”
“I wasn’t part of the Georgia Test due to a lot of reasons but, in saying that, the next challenge is Wednesday and I’m excited to be with and play alongside the boys again. It’s been quite a while, but hopefully I can bring a bit of the success I gained in Europe to the team.
“In saying that, I’ll also be learning from the various players and taking in as much information as possible from the coaching staff and what is expected not just from me, but us as a group. Hopefully we can showcase that on Wednesday when we go out on the field.”
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