Irishman credited for ‘tremendous analysis’ leading to Cheslin Kolbe’s charge down

Jared Wright
Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe, head coach Rassie Erasmus and the iconic charge down on Thomas Ramos.

Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe, head coach Rassie Erasmus and the iconic charge down on Thomas Ramos.

Springboks back Cheslin Kolbe has spoken about his charge down on Thomas Ramos’ kick during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final, a moment that will live long in the memory of French and South African fans.

It was a clutch moment in the knockout match as Kolbe crucially denied France two points as he managed to charge down the always-accurate Ramos in the 23rd minute after Peato Mauvaka’s try.

It proved pivotal in the end as the Springboks secured a 29-28 victory and moved into the semi-finals.

Tremendous analysis

Charge downs on conversions are rare in professional rugby matches and even more so on the international stage. In an extra content snippet from the Chasing the Sun 2 documentary, Kolbe and Rassie Erasmus explain how the charge down came about and the analysis the Springboks coaches did.

Erasmus and his coaching team have become renowned for their meticulous planning, and in this snippet, he reveals that they recruited the help of Irishman Paddy Sullivan, who was working for Montpellier at the time, for his expertise on French rugby.

Erasmus explained that Sullivan’s analysis played a role in Kolbe’s charge down on Ramos.

“We consulted a guy called Paddy [Sullivan]; he works with Montpellier, he’s an Irishman, he speaks French, he knows the stadiums, the training fields, everything,” Erasmus explained in a Betway exclusive snippet.

“He did tremendous analysis for us if we possibly played the French because he’s been in France for the last eight years.

“The detail Paddy brought to us was like Ramos has got this one thing that he does before he kicks, and he actually times it, and Cheslin knows him pretty well from the moment he moves.”

Springboks coaches explain why ‘Ireland have been the best team in the world’

Cheslin Kolbe’s thoughts

The analysis clearly helped, and with Kolbe playing so many games with Ramos during their time at Toulouse, he did have another advantage.

“I knew how many seconds it would take for him from looking the last time at the post to ball and then approaching his run-up,” Kolbe added.

“So for me, it was about waiting for his one foot to step back and that was [a trigger] for me to take off. I wasn’t going for the charge down, it was just adding pressure and being in the eyeline where he would be able to see someone charging and putting pressure.

“It wasn’t me knowing that I was going to get to the ball at all, but obviously, I took off as fast and as quick as possible and the closer I got to the ball, I saw that I could actually get to him.

“I was set out about a metre on the outside of the ball and when I saw was getting quite close, I just angled it and just jumped as high as I could at full speed.”

He added: “In that moment, just the feeling the ball hit my arms… you know magic does happen. Fortunately, I was in that position to do something special for my country.”

Following Sullivan’s success with the Springboks at the World Cup, the Irishman has been added to Erasmus’ coaching team on a full-time basis.

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