Man with magic feet is honoured for his efforts in securing the Top 14 title
Cheslin Kolbe just missed out on the official World Rugby Player of the Year title, but now the Springbok star has received due recognition in France.
Just a week after he was chosen as the World Player of the Year at French sports publication Midi Olympique’s rugby ‘Oscars’, the Bok right wing clinched three titles at the French Top 14’s awards ceremony in Paris on Monday night.
Kolbe was voted by his fellow players as the best player in the French Top 14 competition after he helped Stade Toulousain claim their 20th league championship in the 2018/19 season.
The 26-year-old scored six tries in 16 matches, with Toulouse beating Clermont Auvergne 24-18 in the final in June.
The year just got better in 2019 for the former Stormers favourite, who was part of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship triumph, before making a massive impact at the Rugby World Cup.
Despite missing two matches due to an ankle injury, Kolbe still lit up the tournament with his dazzling footwork, with the highlight coming in the final against England in Yokohama, when he stepped past opposing captain Owen Farrell to score the Boks’ second try.
That led to being nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year award, which went to Springbok teammate Pieter-Steph du Toit.
At the French awards on Monday, Kolbe won two further trophies – the best Top 14 Player at the World Cup, as well as the Try of the Season.
“Obviously I give all glory to God. If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be in this position where I am right now. But I also give a lot of credit to my teammates at Stade Toulousain and my teammates in South Africa for making this possible, because without them, it definitely wouldn’t be possible to play this lovely game and enjoying it with all of them,” Kolbe told the Top 14 Instagram account afterwards.
His Toulouse and Springbok teammate Rynhardt Elstadt paid tribute to the hot-stepper, saying on Instagram: “I have never been so proud of one person as @cheslin15, the most true friend and humble human being I have ever played with….!! You are a true sports man through and through, and an example to so many people…”
Kolbe is not finished just yet.
Apart from building on the World Cup victory with the Boks, he will hope to inspire Toulouse to the European Champions Cup title, while he has also stated his desire to be part of the Blitzboks sevens squad that will aim for a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.