Cheslin Kolbe: ‘People getting stabbed and killed … that was normality’

The double World Cup winner on childhood, global glory and the gangland violence in Cape Town he is trying to tackle

“As I’m sitting here, something is definitely happening out there which is the same as the mental image I have from growing up,” Cheslin Kolbe says of the danger he senses on a quiet morning in Cape Town. When he was a boy Kolbe saw people being shot and stabbed on the Cape Flats and he describes the terrible murder of a childhood friend, whose tongue was also cut out, just before the Springbok wing won the first of his two World Cup winner’s medals in 2019.

Kolbe is now one of the best and richest players in world rugby. On a break back home, before he returns to Japan to resume playing for Tokyo Sungoliath, the 30-year-old is in the mood to reflect on his extraordinary journey from poverty and gangland violence and to explain how rugby has the capacity to offer hope in a brutalised country.

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‘Massive honour’: Rassie Erasmus returns as South Africa head coach

  • The news follows Jacques Nienaber’s departure to Leinster
  • Jerry Flannery leaves Harlequins to join Springboks setup

Rassie Erasmus will return as South Africa’s head coach following the departure of Jacques Nienaber to Leinster.

Erasmus was head coach for South Africa’s 2019 World Cup victory and had been director of rugby when the Springboks successfully defended their title in France last October.

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