Utility back Cheslin Kolbe says he had fun covering as scrumhalf for the Springboks against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
Kolbe started the Test on the wing, but had to readjust his game when tasked with the scrumhalf responsibilities in the absence of Faf de Klerk, was yellow-carded for 10 minutes.
Kolbe is not completely unfamiliar with the role, having played No 9 for the Blitzboks as well as Western Province at Craven Week. And that experience came in handy for the 25-year-old, who did well exceptionally well – especially when clearing the ball at the base of the ruck – against Los Pumas.
‘With Faf getting the yellow card, I had to settle in as quickly as possible. But wherever I can add value to the team, I am happy to do so,’ he said.
‘It was good, I had fun at scrumhalf for those 10 minutes but I definitely couldn’t feel my lungs,’ Kolbe joked.
‘Getting guidance from Handre Pollard especially, in terms of the communication and where we need to be on the park, was a huge help.’
Kolbe has become a regular in coach Rassie Erasmus’ starting lineup and looks set to hold down that role at the World Cup in Japan from next month onwards. But he insists that any number of players can come into the starting XV and do a decent job when given the opportunity.
‘Because there are so many wingers and fullbacks in the squad, every weekend is a different opportunity for players, whether you’re in the starting lineup or the match 23, to put up your hand. It’s just a matter of when you get an opportunity, you have to make the most of it.’
Kolbe was influential in most of the Boks’ offensive plays and scored a try, but he was full of praise for the Bok forwards, who he believes deserve credit for setting up scoring chances for the backline.
‘It’s exciting to get ball in hand and have attacking opportunities, but the forwards laid a good foundation for us to work into space and to capitalise on what is in front of us. Getting ball in hand is awesome, but all credit goes to the forwards,’ he explained.
Photo: Jan Touzeau/BackpagePix/EPA