South Africa's rugby star, Cheslin Kolbe, has shared his feelings during the latter stages of the Rugby World Cup final. In the 73rd minute of the match against New Zealand, referee Wayne Barnes issued Kolbe a yellow card after he was believed to have slapped down a pass from the All Blacks. While this action prevented a potential attack from the All Blacks, it also meant that Kolbe had to anxiously watch the rest of the final from the sin bin.
Although Kolbe scored a crucial try in the 2019 World Cup final against England, he found it difficult to watch the game's remainder when South Africa had to defend their one-point lead with a man down. Kolbe attributes his faith as the source of strength that helped him navigate through these challenging moments. "Receiving a yellow card in the World Cup final is disappointing," Kolbe expressed in an interview. "I was even more disappointed because I felt like I let the entire nation down as well as my teammates at that moment."
Kolbe recalled his emotions during those crucial moments. "Looking up at the clock, knowing that I wasn't 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," he shared. "I asked God that if this was meant for us, he would guide us to victory in the end. I believe that was God's plan for me, even though I would have loved to finish the game."
Kolbe firmly believes that his calling was to be on the sideline for the last eight to ten minutes of the final. He said, "I think his calling for me was to go out for the last eight to ten minutes. I firmly believe that was where God wanted me to be at that stage."
Cameras captured Kolbe several times in the match's closing minutes, as the Stade de France erupted in cheers. However, due to the noise and excitement, Kolbe admitted that he couldn't hear the final whistle blow. It wasn't until a member of the management staff approached him and pulled him that he realized South Africa had won the World Cup. "It was a moment of complete relief," he confessed. "We knew what this victory meant for our country and how it would bring people together. I hope we can continue to build on this unity and keep the spirit alive."
Cheslin Kolbe's journey through the Rugby World Cup final was not without challenges. However, his unwavering faith and ability to find strength in difficult moments ultimately contributed to South Africa's victory and the unification of the nation.