Cheslin Kolbe: Springboks must seize the moment after double World Cup triumph

Cheslin Kolbe: Springboks must seize the moment after double World Cup triumph

Springbok star Cheslin Kolbe admits that it is vital they maintain the momentum from their back-to-back Rugby World Cup triumphs.

Jacques Nienaber's men became the second team - after New Zealand - to retain the Webb Ellis Cup following their victory in France last year.

The Boks defeated the All Blacks 12-11 in the final to secure a record fourth World Cup title after successes in 1995, 2007 and 2019.

They are now looking for an unprecedented three-peat, but there may well be an overhaul of the squad leading into the 2027 tournament.

The World Cup wins have done so much to provide hope for the people of South Africa. Kolisi has constantly spoken about rugby being more than sport to the public, which is why Kolbe is determined to make sure it doesn't "fade."

"So much has changed since 2019. No one expected us to win the World Cup in Japan, and we were fighting to win some respect back for the Springbok jersey. We believed when no one else did," the wing told the Daily Maverick.

"There was a lot more expectation and pressure to deliver in 2023, and our motivation was very different. We did it for the country. What also changed was the reaction to the 2023 victory. The celebration was on another level, and you couldn't go anywhere without being mobbed by fans.

"We play to unite our country - and it's a responsibility that extends beyond World Cup tournaments, or even our time in the Bok camp.

"We must use our platforms to keep this going. We started something, and now we can't let it fade."

Kolbe has become an icon in South Africa following their back-to-back World Cup successes and it is something he wants to build on.

Instead of shying away from the attention, the speedster wants to use it for good, which includes a partnership with Japanese company Value Golf that he hopes will benefit his outreach programmes.

"You have to embrace it all," he said.

"You want to do as well as possible on the field, but at the same time, you're thinking about what comes next.

"As a pro athlete, you're in this space for maybe five to 10 years, but then you rub shoulders with business people who have been working in their field for twice as long, if not longer. You've got to go into that with the will to learn and adapt.

"I try to remember the fight and the effort it took to become a rugby player, and I commit to making the same effort off the field. I'm the same person I was before all of this came about."

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