JOHANNESBURG – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed that winger Cheslin Kolbe is fully fit and available for selection for the upcoming Rugby World Cup final against England on Saturday.The 26-year-old has been one of the standout players for South Africa so far in the tournament but was forced off the field with an ankle injury during the Springboks’ win over Italy.Kolbe has scored two tries in the showpiece until now but has shone particularly in defence, where he’s made 85% of the 22 tackles he’s attempted.Sbu Nkosi deputised on the wing during South Africa’s semifinal win over Wales this past weekend, and would be the obvious choice of player to make way for Kolbe should he be selected.“We are lucky enough to have all 31 players available and ready to train,” Erasmus said.“Our team selection won’t be too far off from what it has been over the last two games. It will probably be exactly the same 23 with Cheslin Kolbe coming back into that 23. We believe that is the best way we can get the best out of our team. It’s a bit of horses for courses (selection) but also we think it is our most in-form, fit, best combination available.”The Springboks have faced some criticism for their direct style of play, which has been dominated by their forwards smashing into contact and tactical kicking by scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and flyhalf Handre Pollard.Erasmus, however, said the short turnaround between their 19-16 semi-final victory over Wales on Sunday and the final with England would limit tactical changes.“I have got 160 minutes to train and a six-day turnaround, there is not a lot we can change in that,” Erasmus said.“If we had a seven or eight-day turnaround we probably could change a few things but there is not a hell of a lot of tactics you can change in six days.”While South Africa have a far more expansive game plan in their back pocket – as evidenced in matches against New Zealand over the last two years under Erasmus – the coach said he was not “bluffing” in his public comments about the team.“If you understand where we have been coming from, being sixth, seventh, eighth in the world, we have got certain challenges and one was just to redeem ourselves and become a power again. By doing that, you have to have some building blocks in place. We have followed a certain route and play according to the stats and the way the game is being refereed currently and what it gives you is short term good results on the scoreboard.“We certainly accept that there are some things in our game that we need to improve and we take that on the chin. But we have put ourselves in a position to win the World Cup … which is where we want to be.”The Springbok team announcement is expected to be made on Thursday morning.
Kolbe fit for World Cup final – Erasmus
Tuesday 29 09:53