Playing from the heart

News 13 October 2020

Rugby superstars Cheslin Kolbe and Faf de Klerk talk about making an impact on and off the field

Goosebumps – that’s what viewers have been left with after watching the first instalments of the five-part documentary series, Chasing The Sun, airing on Sundays on M-Net (DStv 101) at 18:00.

The story of the Springboks’ road to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup started in 2017 with a demotivated team that lost 57-0 to their fiercest rivals, the New Zealand All Blacks. And the days ahead looked dark…

But then coaches Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took charge of the squad, slowly but certainly rebuilding, reforming and remoulding the players into a stronger unit that, a year later, went on to beat the All Blacks 34-36 in Wellington, New Zealand.

“For me and the players, the lights went on when we won that match,” says Rassie. “We can go with this, we can do this.” And the Boks indeed went all the way to Rugby World Cup glory!

Watch now on Catch Up

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Playing from the heart

Springbok players Cheslin Kolbe and Faf de Klerk were both part of that game in 2018, and the fire that ignited in them then has been flaming ever since. While they’re shorter than their teammates, they more than prove that dynamite comes in small packages, and the pair have used their athletic abilities to become game-changers for the Bok team.

“Every rugby player is unique and blessed with their own skills and talent,” says Cheslin. “It just depends on yourself and how bad you want to succeed in life, and I wanted that as a rugby player. Being small has its pros and cons, but to me, I have defied that myth and proved many wrong,” adds the man nicknamed “Magic Feet” for his side-stepping move that has led to many tries.

In the final game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Cheslin’s memorable try in the final minutes cemented the championship for the Boks. He proved that you don’t need to be the biggest player to make a difference; you just need to leverage your skills and go the distance.

“Sometimes I surprise myself by the things I do on the rugby field,” admits Cheslin. “It’s all in the moment. That’s why I still watch replays [of his World Cup try]. It’s a phenomenal and momentous achievement for me as my name will always be part of winning that final.”

No fear

“Rugby has impacted me in a lot of ways,” says Faf. “It has taken me all over the world and has taught me valuable life lessons which include discipline, teamwork, how to work hard and still enjoy the simple things in life.”

Faf’s nickname is “Giant Slayer” as he takes on and tackles opposition players twice his size without an ounce of fear. “I like the name,” chuckles Faf. “I think it is a good name tag to have. I just need to keep on living up to it.”

Faf agrees with Cheslin that rugby is a platform for all shapes and sizes. “I am glad that guys like myself and Cheslin can prove to so many out there that anything is possible, whether it’s in rugby or in life. You must just make the choice to be the change, reach your goal, and not give up.

“Viewers should watch Chasing The Sun because they will get a great insight of what we do behind the scenes, and how it helped us to win the World Cup,” Faf adds. “Viewers will also see the players in a different light and basically see things they have never seen before.”

And with that we ask, where will you be on Sundays in October at 18:00?

Watch Chasing The Sun S1, Sundays on M-Net (DStv 101) at 18:00 or on Catch Up

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