Rugby World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe has declared his desire to be part of the Blitzboks bid to win Olympic gold in Tokyo next year.
Kolbe enjoyed a phenomenal 2019 with Toulouse before linking up with the Springboks, and was rewarded with the Top 14’s player of the year gong.
The winger has enjoyed a stellar season achieving a string of career goals but his short term future is in France as he seeks to have a hand in European Cup success for Toulouse.
European glory and the Olympics
“There are two more things I would still love to achieve and that’s probably winning the European Champions Cup and hopefully the Olympics with South Africa,” he said after the Top 14 awards ceremony in the French capital.
“I will keep on working hard and if there’s a door that opens or an opportunity that comes my way I’ll just make sure that I’m ready for whatever opportunities.”
Powell the key to the transition
Kolbe has yet to run the idea past SA Rugby or Blitzboks coach Neil Powell who may already have his own set of plans. Competition for Blitzboks places is stiff with Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman coming out of their exile after failing to break into the Springboks XVs Rugby World Cup squad.
“I haven’t discussed it in person with SA Rugby. It’s something I would love to be a part of,” Kolbe said.
“It’s another big event. It’s probably one of the biggest stages of rugby or sport. If it does it happen, it happens.
“It’s been a phenomenal season, not just for me but for my club and for my country, winning the Top 14, The Rugby Championship and then World Cup in one year I’m really blessed,” Kolbe said.
“I couldn’t have done this without all my team-mates. I give credit to all of them because if they didn’t create opportunities for me as a winger to finish off I wouldn’t be standing here now.”
It is unclear what requirements Powell would have for Kolbe to meet to be considered for selection for the Olympic Sevens squad, which will be named after the World Sevens Series.
The Blitzboks will get their 2019/20 World Sevens Series campaign underway in Dubai on 5 December beginning the final stretch of the road to Tokyo 2020 with a match against Africa’s rising Sevens stars Kenya. South Africa qualified for the Olympics by virtue of their position in the 2018/19 Sevens series.