The people's choice: Cheslin Kolbe voted ahead of Semi Radradra as the best wing on the planet by fans
The electric 26-year-old enjoyed a comfortable win with 60 percent of the fan vote on RugbyPass‘ Facebook and Instagram accounts as part of the Straight 8 Fan Vote campaign to determine the best player on the planet in each position.
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Kolbe and Radradra were left as the last two players standing in the third and final round of the knockout bracket after having fought off the challenges of some big names in the prior two rounds.
Backing up his 79 percent winning margin against Japanese sensation Kenki Fukuoka, Radradra dominated against South African speedster Makazole Mapimpi in the second round to run away with the tie by 72 percent.
On the other side of the draw, Kolbe had little trouble in dispatching Welsh wing Josh Adams with 89 percent of the fan vote, before cruising to victory against rapid Englishman Jonny May with 69 percent of the public’s support.
In the end, it was Kolbe’s speed, fleet-footed prowess and ability to punch well above his weight despite standing at only 1.7m and 77kg that got him past the might of Radradra.
Whether it’s been from the midfield or the wing, the Fijian league convert has been a dominant force in union since making the switch to the Top 14 from the NRL three years ago, but that didn’t stop Kolbe from winning 60 percent of the vote.
His selection as the world’s best wing comes after he helped play a pivotal role in South Africa’s World Cup success in Japan last year, where he scored the decisive try in the final against England.
Kolbe was also a standout for club side Toulouse, as he won Top 14 player of the year en route to his side’s first domestic title in seven years.
Despite finishing runner-up in the vote, Radradra can take solace in the fact that by virtue of being one of the last two wings in the vote, he will be included in the RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV alongside Kolbe.
The duo will join England powerhouse Maro Itoje and World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit, who both won the lock and flanker votes, as well as runners-up Eben Etzebeth and Ardie Savea in the fan-voted team.
The Straight 8 Fan Vote will begin its fourth instalment early next week.
RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV (as it stands)
4. Maro Itoje (England/Saracens)
5. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa/Toulon)
6. Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa/Stormers)
7. Ardie Savea (New Zealand/Hurricanes)
11. Semi Radradra (Fiji/Bordeaux)
14. Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa/Toulouse)
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