Blitzbok coach Neil Powell says there is still a possibility that Cheslin Kolbe could play for the side during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. DYLAN JACK reports.
Rumours of Kolbe making a return to the Blitzboks set-up started swirling at the end of 2019, with the player himself later admitting it was a goal for him to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games.
These rumours were further enhanced when Netwerk24 reported in February that the Springbok World Cup winner was in talks with SA Rugby to get him released during July and August.
However, cold water was poured over the move when it became apparent that Kolbe’s French Top 14 club, Toulouse, turned down the release of one of their best players.
Speaking after the team’s arrival in South Africa from the tour to North America, Powell said there may still be a chance of Kolbe being involved in the Olympics.
‘I think from Cheslin’s side he is always keen to join us and to do the Olympics with us but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get him released from Toulouse,’ Powell said.
‘Again, it might be that the Olympics is postponed [due to the coronavirus] so we will have to play it by ear. That door is not closed, yet. I think that door is still open.’
Powell did, however, add that they would look to select players who have had more game time in the Sevens Series above those who may just be joining the system for the Olympics.
That may be where the Kolbe move is further stumped as he has not played sevens rugby since the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
‘We will definitely look after the guys that played the whole season first before we look outside the system,’ Powell said.
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images