Siya Kolisi: Bok try-scoring hero Cheslin Kolbe makes sure he uses the opportunity that he gets
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CAPE TOWN - SPRINGBOK captain Siya Kolisi said he was “proud” of Cheslin Kolbe for the way he took his chance to score the decisive try in the 19-16 victory over the British and Irish Lions on Saturday night.
With the score at 10-6 to the Lions at Cape Town Stadium, flyhalf Handre Pollard missed two consecutive penalties at goal that would have put the Boks back into the lead.
But the South Africans showed great character to knuckle down and work their way back in the game, and Kolbe produced a typically brilliant piece of play to dot down before the hour mark.
A box-kick from Lions scrumhalf Ali Price was contested in the air by Duhan van der Merwe and Jasper Wiese, with the Bok No 8 unable to gather the ball.
But Lukhanyo Am secured possession and offloaded in the tackle to Willie le Roux, who sped down the right-hand side and found a flying Kolbe. The Bok No 14 evaded the tackle of Liam Williams and then held off Luke Cowan-Dickie for an incredible finish.
Pollard slotted the conversion to put the Boks 13-10 ahead, and then veteran Morné Steyn kicked two late penalties to round off a 2-1 series victory.
“Chessie is one of those people who doesn’t need a lot of opportunities. He makes sure that he uses the opportunity that he gets,” Kolisi said in the post-match press conference.
“Today was one of those days, and I’m really proud of him and everything that he’s achieved.
“But I’ve got to give it to the guys that won the scraps and for being alert there. That’s where it started for us, and then Willie – people can say so many things about him.
“But he is one of the quickest assists in the team, so well done to Chessie and all those guys at the back.”
Kolbe was chosen as the Man of the Match, and said in a TV interview with SuperSport: “I’m just so happy for the boys. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but you know what, us as South Africans at home, we have pride and we want to honour those that have been here.
“It was just an honour and a privilege for me to wear this jersey, play with these great players. I’m just humbled to receive this, but it goes to each and every player, management. I’m just thankful.
“Once those opportunities (come our way), we must make sure we capitalise on that. Mapimpi did that last week, and I got the opportunity through the hard work of the boys on the inside to exploit the opportunity that was on the outside, and to get over the white line.”