Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
13 Sep 2018
7:12 am

Kriel over Kolbe as Springboks name team

Heinz Schenk

But does that move represent a missed opportunity for national coach Rassie Erasmus?

Cheslin Kolbe of South Africa controls the ball during a South Africa Springboks Training Session at Churchie Grammar School on September 4, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Springbok coach  Rassie Erasmus on Thursday erred on the side of caution in naming his side for Saturday’s Super Rugby meeting with the All Blacks.

That’s reflected in Jesse Kriel, a specialist outside centre, being roped in to play right wing instead of the more explosive Cheslin Kolbe.

It’s true that the diminutive playmaker, who was a surprise inclusion in the tour group, didn’t exactly cover himself in glory last weekend against the Wallabies after replacing the injured Makazole Mapimpi.

Yet given how Kolbe’s stock has soared in France with Toulouse, one has to wonder if this is an opportunity missed.

Naturally there remain doubts over his suitability for Test rugby – Kolbe’s only 1.72m tall and weighs around 80 kg – but the only way there will be answers is if he’s actually picked.

Instead, Kolbe will be expected to be a super sub in Wellington.

Handre Pollard returns in the No 10 jersey, while Lukhanyo Am (centre) and Malcolm Marx (hooker) also return to the starting XV.

Springboks: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Beast Mtawarira, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe.