TOKYO, Sep 22 – The opening weekend of the Football World Cup has sparked some dazzling rugby events and also announced the arrival of the "excitement machine".
South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe was the standout performer of his team in Yokohama on Saturday, with dancing feet and scorching speed night, despite the Boks' inability to withstand New Zealand's attack when the All Blacks drew 23-13.
It could have been different if Cheslin – who scored 118 yards in nine runs – would have done almost twice as well as anyone on the field and beat 11 men on the way – made it to another breathtaking attack in the second Halftime, a duel by Richie Mo & # 39; unga to escape.
This was a moment All Blacks coach Steve Hansen described as "A match winner, likely – or close to it," as the score for New Zealand at that time was 17-13.
Kolbe, who won a rugby seventh bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, in which his cousin Wayde van Niekerk won gold at 400 meters, had South African fans every time he got the ball the legs.
He is confident that if he has a similar chance of scoring later in the tournament, he will take advantage of it.
"He (Mo" unga) has shown a good pair of heels, but I think I could have gone a bit faster outside and supported me, "he said. "I'll just make sure I'm there if there's another opportunity I'm going to use."
It was a night of what could have been for the boks many had envisioned to upset New Zealand. But the World Champion has shown once again that he can find a way to win close matches.
"We got off to a good start in the first half, but then there were some loose balls that did not stick," he said. 25-year-old Kolbe is from Cape Town, but plays rugby for Toulouse in France. "You just took advantage of our mistakes.
"They did a very good foot job. The World Cup is not about (only) attacking. There were a few balls that we could not handle.
"My first match at a World Cup is a reminder that I will take throughout my career. It's not the result we wanted, but it's a long competition.
RNA on / wh / icr / bo