‘Give Kolbe his space’
Stormers’ ‘greased lightning’ will keep fullback position, says coach Robbie Fleck
Unless the national selectors or Springbok coach Allister Coetzee say they want to see what Cheslin Kolbe looks like on scrum half, the Stormers’ greased lighting won’t move in behind the oven anytime soon. This is how Robbie Fleck, Stormers coach, described the state of affairs regarding Kolbe after renewed comments over the past week that he be moved from the fullback position to scrum half.
This after Kolbe was one of just a few stars in the Stormers’ draw against the Sunwolves.
As per usual, Kolbe popped up everywhere and a couple of times even from behind the ruck.
It’s also from here that he made a few breaches with one of these frisky runs that eventually led to the drawtry that saved the Stormers from red faces against the Japanese.
His performance once again had tongues wagging, with former Springbok coach Nick Mallett after the game against the Sunwolves saying that Kolbe had the potential to become a superb international scrum half. Mallett last year said the very same thing while Kolbe was playing fullback for the Stormers in the Super Rugby series, when Coetzee was still coach. But Fleck was quick to nip the gossip in the bud. “For him to play scrum half at the highest level, he will have to play in that position for us regularly. At the moment that is not going to happen,” said the Stormers coach.
“It has been done that players make positional moves late in their careers, but scrum half is a difficult position.
“We are currently doing what is good for the Stormers and that’s to play him on fullback. Unless the national selectors or Allister Coetzee come to me and say ‘I want to see Cheslin on fly half or scrum half’.”
Earlier in the season the Stormers camp did toy with the idea of using Kolbe on fly half.
This was shortly after Kurt Coleman and Robert du Preez, the two first-choice fly halfs, were injured and before Jean-Luc du Plessis and Brandon Thomson came on the scene.
However, Fleck believes playing Kolbe on fullback gives him more free rein to pop up everywhere on the field.
“That’s the beauty of fullbacks. Normally they are the best footballers on your team and they have the ability to pop up everywhere. That’s what he [Kolbe] does for us. The freedom he currently has to play any way he wants, suits his kind of game.”
BEST MOVE Cheslin Kolbe finds himself in the middle of a debate over whether he should play as a fullback or fly half