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Video - Kolbe inflicts sidestepping 'Groundhog Day' on Jacob Stockdale

By Ian Cameron
Cheslin Kolbe /PA

Ulster Jacob Stockdale must be sick of the sight of Cheslin Kolble, the Toulouse winger who now surely stalks the Ulsterman’s dreams.

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Toulouse bagged a rare 29 – 22 win over Ulster in Belfast last night in the Heineken Champions Cup, with two tries from the Springbok pocket rocket more or less the difference between the two sides at Kingspan Stadium.

The first try saw him chip ahead and collect to cap off a remarkable 50-metre solo. It was a brilliant bit of individual skill.

However it was his second try that might be harder for Stockdale to process, as it bore an eerie resemblance to a previous try he scored against the hulking Irishman. Kolbe got the ball on the right flank and smashed his trademark right foot step to leave Stockdale whizzing by.

You could see that Stockdale knew it was coming and was adjusting for the inevitable change of direction, but the sheer explosiveness of the step meant his intervention still came to nought. Well, not quite nought, as he did down the World Cup winner, albeit only briefly.

While not quite a like-for-like, it was very close to the try Kolbe scored against Ulster in the quarter-final of the Heineken Champions Cup back in September, again of course, with Stockdale on the receiving end.

It was hard lines for Stockdale, the 2018 Six Nations Player of the Championship, who has struggled to quite find the form that lit up that tournament two and half years ago. In his defence, for larger wingers like the 6’3, 102kg Stockdale, defending 5’8, 80kg wingers like Kolbe can prove to be extremely tricky assignments.

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Stockdale is no slouch athletically – he has clocked a 9.97 metres per second GPS speed – but direction changes when defending Kolbe – arguably the best stepper in world rugby – are a different kettle of fish.

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

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