The electric winger discusses soda, superpowers and sports cars
Downtime with… Toulouse and South Africa wing Cheslin Kolbe
How were the World Cup celebrations in South Africa?
It was awesome. From the moment we landed in Johannesburg, the welcome we got from supporters was incredible. They were so happy about what we had done, winning it.
My daughter loves the medal because she thinks it’s chocolate! She keeps fooling around and taking bites at it. It’s quite funny. My parents and wife love it.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on a pitch?
During the World Cup, Anton Lienert-Brown got his pants pulled down.
Your funniest team-mates?
With South Africa it’s Lood de Jager. He always has a few jokes and cheers the boys up. He loves to sing and maybe he’ll be a rapper after rugby, so he backs himself singing and rapping. He’s an entertainer.
Any pranks you can share with us?
At Toulouse, Maxime Médard will go into lockers and take shoes or car keys or something like that and then when you try to go home you can’t because you don’t have anything. He is always busy messing around and hiding stuff.
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
Trevor Noah. He’s funny and you can have good chats. He’ll entertain you for however long you’re stuck in there.
Do you have any phobias?
Snakes. If I ever see one I’ll be gone, no doubt about that!
What’s your silliest purchase?
I’m quite good with my money, I spend it wisely. At Toulouse, Rynhardt Elstadt is always buying things that don’t pitch up or are not allowed to be shipped to France – he won’t end up getting what he ordered.
If your house was on fire and everyone was safe, what would you save? I’d probably run up and grab all my watches. I collect them, I love my watches. I have about 12 of them.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate is something I can never, ever say no to. Once I open a packet I’ll finish it right away. I’m a lover of fizzy drinks like Coke too. I’m quite a sweet-toothed person. I’m lucky I don’t really put on weight easily. I’ll put on 1 kg a year if I’m lucky!
What winds you up?
I’m not a person that really gets angry, but when you try to get a point across and you know that you’re more than 90% correct and people don’t listen to you, that pushes the wrong buttons.
Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
I would go with Christian Cullen because I’ve always looked up to him for the kind of rugby he played. Then it would be Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, because of wrestling and his special moves! And then I’d go into soccer and invite Thierry Henry. I’ve never been that much of a soccer fan, but when I was younger I would watch Arsenal. He was awesome.
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
To be invincible. So that I don’t always have to dance around everyone but also as I don’t want to get smashed by the big okes!
How do you relax?
I’ll lay on the couch with my feet in the air or I’ll get in a nice sports car and drive around. I love my cars. I don’t get much chance to do it in France, so whenever I come back to South Africa I try to get nice wheels, throw myself into it and drive around. My dream car would be a Nissan Skyline or the Nissan GT-R R35.
Any hidden talents?
I’m trying to learn a bit of golf. I’ve not played that much so I’m a bit all over the show on the course.
What do you miss about South Africa when you’re in France?
I do miss the home-cooked meals and a braai. And spending time with family and friends.
If you could be any team-mate, who would you be?
Damien De Allende. He’s one of the most down-to-earth people you will meet. He’s one of a kind. He knows when to have fun and when to be serious – he’s an all-round person.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who is respectful to others and a person who never gives up.
What would you like to achieve after rugby?
To be well looked after, to look after the family and be comfortable with that life. I would like to look at business opportunities and work with youth, to inspire other people who were in the same position as I was in growing up.
Where I grew up there probably weren’t the best schools and there was a community with a lot of crime and drugs. I’ve grown up with a lot of support from my parents who laid the foundation. We had a great example – great role models who kept us going with other things going on around us.
This article originally appeared in the January 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.
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