British & Irish Lions or Tokyo Olympics? Cheslin Kolbe makes his choice

Cheslin Kolbe (AFP)
Cheslin Kolbe (AFP)

Springbok flyer Cheslin Kolbe has revealed he is hungry to face the British & Irish Lions who are set to tour South Africa next year.

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The Toulouse star was also eager to represent his country in Sevens at the Tokyo Olympic Games which were scheduled to take place in July/August this year.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics were pushed back to 2021 and are now due to take place at the same time as the Lions tour South Africa.

The postponed Games will be held from 23 July to 8 August, 2021 while the Lions’ programme will start on 3 July when they face the Stormers in Cape Town, with the main part of their tour being their three Tests against the Springboks on 24 July (FNB Stadium, Johannesburg), 31 July (Cape Town Stadium) and 7 August (Ellis Park, Johannesburg).

That left Kolbe with a huge dilemma as he had indicated he would like to participate at the Olympics again - after helping his country win a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 - but when informed that next year’s Olympics would clash with the Lions tour he left little doubt as to which his preferred choice would be.

“It’s a tough decision but I would definitely choose taking on the British and Irish Lions,” he told Planet Rugby in an interview.

“Although I would love to play Sevens for my country at the Tokyo Olympics, to be part of a British and Irish Lions series is a goal I really want to achieve and I would like to be a part of that because it only happens every 12 years (that they tour South Africa).

“Next year would be my only chance to face them, if I do get selected (for the Springboks), as I won’t be around for their next tour so I would definitely go for that option.”

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