Former Springbok wing Akona Ndungane says he would have given Cheslin Kolbe the No 14 jersey for Saturday’s match against the All Blacks in Wellington. DYLAN JACK reports.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has opted to start regular centre Jesse Kriel on the right wing instead of Kolbe, who made his Test debut off the bench late in the first half against the Wallabies last weekend.
Ndungane says Kolbe should have been the preferred option having played out wide for both the Stormers and Toulouse.
‘I would have kept a guy like Cheslin out on the wing,’ Ndungane told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘Especially against the All Blacks and with Jesse having not played there this season. Cheslin has done very well for his club in France and he primarily plays on the wing, so he is very comfortable there.
‘Cheslin has a big heart and proved it many times for the Stormers. He has played against big guys and he cleverly goes for the ankles and manages to tackle them. He would never let the jersey down.
‘Rassie obviously has his plans, though. Jesse is a great player but he has not played on the wing recently, so he could take some time to adapt to it. I am looking forward to seeing how he performs out there.’
The 2007 World Cup winner says Kriel, who last started a Test on the wing against Argentina in 2015, does possess the attributes to make his temporary transition a success.
‘Having played at fullback, Jesse has a good kicking game, is good under the high ball and is a strong runner with ball in hand. It would make sense to have a guy like that there, with the All Blacks having wings like Reiko Ioane and Ben Smith.
‘Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett are both excellent kickers of the ball, so the Bok back three will have to work very well together. Having Jesse on the wing will be a good option as he can run those kicks back at them and has a good kicking game himself.’
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