Mallett: Kolbe slotted in seamlessly at scrumhalf

Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says he was impressed by the versatility show by Cheslin Kolbe against Argentina in Salta over the weekend.

The Springbok winger moved to scrumhalf for 10 minutes while Faf de Klerk was in the sin-bin and impressed in the position.

Mallett raised eyebrows a few years ago when he said the 1.71m Kolbe should consider a move to scrumhalf if he wanted to play international rugby.

"I was quite relieved that Cheslin Kolbe played so well at scrumhalf for the 10 minutes when Faf de Klerk was off the field because if he made a few shocking passes everyone would have said I didn't know what I was talking about," Mallett said in the SuperSport studio after South Africa's 46-13 win.

"He has been playing fantastic rugby on the wing but in this instance where he had to move to scrumhalf, he did so quite seamlessly. What always impresses me about Kolbe is his unbelievable courage for a man of his size. He is barely 80kg, if that, but he goes in as hard as anyone on the field."

Mallett said Kolbe's versatility could mean that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus opts for only two specialist scrumhalves in this World Cup squad.

"But honestly, apart from playing sevens, I'm not sure how much rugby Kolbe ever played at No 9 and yet he looked so comfortable there. From a World Cup perspective, it allows us to think of perhaps taking two specialist scrumhalves with Kolbe to cover and that liberates another position in the backline or in the forwards."

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