Ulster Jacob Stockdale must be sick of the sight of Cheslin Kolble, the Toulouse winger who now surely stalks the Ulsterman’s dreams.
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.
Cheslin Kolbe doing what only Cheslin Kolbe can do ?????
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 11, 2020
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.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 12, 2020
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.
"Knowing what he's going to do, and stopping what he's going to do, are two very different things…"
Cheslin Kolbe that is filthy ?
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 20, 2020
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.
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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