Video shows where Cheslin Kolbe has actually been the past month
In case anyone was wondering where South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe was throughout the Autumn Nations Series, it has recently been confirmed he was actually playing for Ireland disguised as lock Ryan Baird.
Or that is at least what it seemed from the Irishman’s performance against Argentina on Sunday, particularly one galloping run he made. This was not simply a case of a lock making a break through a gap, as Baird, sporting Kolbe’s trademark scrum cap, produced a step around fly-half Santiago Carreras from a standing start that even the World Cup winner himself would have been proud of. Then, like the Springbok, he spotted a gap that had opened and dashed through it.
The 22-year-old was not happy making a break from his own 10 metre line to Argentina’s 22. Instead, still giddy from the success of his previous step to beat Carreras, he tried the same on fullback Emiliano Boffelli, although he was less successful the second time round. Few players would have wanted to be in the No15’s shoes, as the Leinster lock was motoring down field.
What Baird would have had in the locker that Kolbe lacks is the ability to charge straight over the fullback á la Jonah Lomu.
Take a look:
— Channel 4 Sport (@C4Sport) November 21, 2021
For those who do not believe Kolbe was secretly disguised as Baird throughout November, the more conventional reason for his absence is that he has a knee injury. However, he is nearing a return to action and could make his debut for Toulon in the coming weeks have made the big money move from Toulouse in the summer, where he had just won the Top 14 and the Heineken Champions Cup. His new club sit in 12th place in the league, 20 points and eleven places below his previous employers.