Springbok Cheslin Kolbe kicked a 50 metre drop goal in Toulouse’s Top 14 final win against La Rochelle, showing there is nothing he can’t do, writes Mark Keohane.
Kolbe, playing at No 15, inspired Toulouse with a fantastic display of finals rugby from fullback. His defence was solid, he was committed defensively at the breakdown and his boot proved to be as potent as anything he has done with ball in hand.
Former Stormers flanker Rynhardt Elstadt also enjoyed that winning feeling with Toulouse as they completed the double over La Rochelle, after the Heineken Cup win at Twickenham a month ago.
Kolbe and Elstadt will join up with the Springboks early next week and neither is likely to be considered for the first Test of the season against Georgia at Loftus Versfeldt next Friday evening.
Kolbe’s influence and inspiration at Toulouse has been more famous for amazing tries and try assists, and he has primarily played at wing, but in the Top 14 final he started and finished at fullback and was as important to the success of Toulouse as he has been at any stage of his career.
Cheslin Kolbe has just drained a 50-metre drop-goal in the Top 14 final. He belongs in a comic book at this point. pic.twitter.com/JlfE5lTr6C
— Charlie Morgan (@CharlieFelix) June 25, 2021
Toulouse flyhalf Tomas Ramos was named player of the match.
South Africans Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule and Wiaan Liebenberg started for La Rochelle.
La Rochelle captain and former All Blacks Victor Vito said Toulouse were simply too good for La Rochelle.
‘They’ve beaten us a few times this year and they put us under pressure in the first half and we simply couldn’t come back from that. They aren’t the champions of Europe for nothing and they were just too good tonight,’ said Vito.
Another former All Black Jerome Kaino was happier, having been on the winning side. Kaino, who is 38 years-old, experienced a Top 14 title in his final match, adding the Top 14 title to the Heineken Cup.
Kaino, who will stay on at Toulouse in an ambassador and coaching capacity, won the 2011 and 2015 World Cup with the All Blacks.
Kolbe, a 2019 World Cup winner, is expected to be influential in the Springboks three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions, with the first Test in Cape Town on the 24th July.
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