Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe has opened up on his emotions during the latter stages of the Rugby World Cup final.
Referee Wayne Barnes issued Kolbe a yellow card in the 73rd minute of the clash between New Zealand and South Africa after he was deemed to have slapped down a pass from the All Blacks.
Watching the final from the sidelines
The winger says that it was his faith that got him through the latter stages.
“Receiving a yellow card in the World Cup final is disappointing,” Kolbe told reporters on Friday during a visit to Kraaifontein, where he grew up.
“I was more disappointed because I let the whole nation down; I let my teammates down at the time.
“Looking up at the clock, knowing that I was not going back on the field, I just went and sat on the chair. I pulled the jersey over my head, and I was crying and praying at the same time.
“I was asking God that if this was meant for us he would pull us through in the end. I think that was God’s plan for me and his calling for me, which was not to finish the game, even though I would have loved to.
“I think his calling for me was to go out for the last eight to 10 minutes. I firmly believe that was where God wanted me to be at that stage.”
The final whistle
The cameras panned to Kolbe multiple times during the match’s closing minutes, with the Stade de France roaring throughout, and the 30-year-old speedster said he could not hear Barnes’ last blast of the whistle to signal the end of the game.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t hear the final whistle blow,” he added.
“One of the management staff came up to me and pulled me, and that’s when I knew we won the World Cup and we were taking gold back to South Africa – it was a moment of complete relief.
“We know what it does and how it unites our country and how important the victory would be for South Africa; it brings people together.
“I think that is what we need, and hopefully we can continue with that, and it doesn’t die out.”