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SportsTalk Special – How good is Cheslin Kolbe?

South Africa all but secured their spot in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup with a 49-3 win over Italy in their penultimate pool match. Buhle Madulini, John Robbie and Robbie Kempson dissect the performance against the Azzurri, where the Springboks still need to improve and look ahead to the match against Canada.

South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe scores a try against Italy during their Rugby World Cup match on 4 October 2019. Picture: Twitter/rugbyworldcup

CAPE TOWN - The Rugby World Cup has officially begun, now that South Africa are assured of a place in the quarterfinals. It’s a huge relief, says John Robbie. “Can I first say, 'shoo!'”

“I stopped there on Sandton Drive and bought one of those flags that you put on your car like we had during the Soccer World Cup because now the World Cup has really started. It was a much better performance and you could pick up from the kick-off that there was a little bit of edge to the Springboks,” Robbie said.

Robbie and analyst Robbi Kempson highlighted the Springboks’ intensity and intent as they dismantled the Italians. “Boxes ticked from that game against Italy and on to probably the easiest game of the World Cup against Canada, but how good is Cheslin Kolbe? He must be in the running for World Player of the Year, no question,” Kempson said.

But it’s not all rosy. There are still areas the Boks need to improve on before the knockout stages. The team still threw away good chances on the offence.

“We will celebrate the win, but there is still work to do if we want to make it all the way,” said Robbie.

Does Willie le Roux justify his place in the team after some sub-par performances? Perhaps we should be seeing Kolbe in the No 15 jersey? The team had some thoughts around that too.

But the positives far outweighed the negatives for the Springboks ahead of Tuesday’s game against Canada (kick-off 12.15pm), according to Kempson.

“Going into a quarterfinal, defence more often than not is going to win you games and from there you need to kick penalties. I think from a defensive point of view he [Rassie Erasmus] is smiling and thinking we are getting this aspect right and at the right time,” said Kempson.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Special podcast.

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