From famous relatives to a humble upbringing, here are some key facts about the World Cup winner
Who is Cheslin Kolbe: Ten things you should know about the South Africa wing
Cheslin Kolbe is one of the best wingers in the modern game. His side-stepping ability is legendary and he scored a try in South Africa‘s 2019 Rugby World Cup final win over England.
Widely known for his diminutive stature of only 5ft 7in, there are far more things you should know.
Ten things you should know about Cheslin Kolbe
1. Kolbe was born on 28 October 1993 in Kraaifontein, a suburb of Cape Town. It was a violent area, with a large number of gang members. He once had to sprint away after becoming caught up in a firefight between rival groups.
2. His father, Andrew, was also a rugby player, turning out for local club Hands and Heart as a dangerous inside-centre. However, this was during the midst of apartheid, so despite his talent, he couldn’t crack professional rugby.
3. Kolbe’s cousin is Wayde van Niekerk, the current men’s 400m world-record holder who won Olympic gold in 2016. Kolbe was a national-standard hurdler as a young teenager but gave up on athletics to focus on rugby.
4. His rugby hero when growing up was South African centre Adrian Jacobs, who was also from Kraaifontein. Jacobs started the first two Tests at outside-centre during the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa.
5. He played for the South African sevens team, the Blitzbokke, for five years between 2012 and 2017. Like his cousin, Kolbe has an Olympic medal, winning a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
6. It was only when Rassie Erasmus changed the Springbok policy on picking overseas players that Kolbe was able to make his Test debut for the national team in 2018, having moved to Toulouse from the Stormers after finishing his sevens career.
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7. South Africa’s thrilling 36-34 win over New Zealand in Wellington on 15 September 2018 was one of the best matches of modern times – and it also saw Kolbe score his first international try in 15s. Coming off the bench, he intercepted an Anton Lienert-Brown pass to score from halfway.
8. Kolbe can also play fly-half and full-back, being utilised at stand-off multiple times in the 2020-21 season by Toulouse.
9. Kolbe is a philanthropist and works with the Be The Difference Foundation in 2014. The organisation tries to tackle poverty in the Western Cape and fed 400 people a week at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in South Africa.
10. While careful with his money, Kolbe told Rugby World that his main vice was collecting watches – he owns 12 in all!
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