Cheslin Kolbe unveiled as a Toulon player – WATCH

"I honestly never thought that I would come this far," said 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning wing Cheslin Kolbe as he was unveiled by his new club Toulon.

Cheslin Kolbe unveiled as a Toulon player – WATCH

“I honestly never thought that I would come this far,” said 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning wing Cheslin Kolbe as he was unveiled by his new club Toulon on Friday.

The 27-year-old Springbok, who joined Toulon this summer after four years at Toulouse ended with a Top 14 and European double, talked at length to AFP about the obstacles he has overcome, his love of France and his excitement at his new challenge and at the potential of winning World Cup and Olympic medals in the country in the next three years.  

READ | RASSIE ERASMUS THE FAVOURITE TO TAKE OVER FROM EDDIE JONES AS ENGLAND COACH

“Looking back now, I honestly never thought that I would come this far in my rugby career because of all the challenges I faced at a young age,” said Cheslin Kolbe who is just over 5-foot-7 tall.

“Being told that I’m too small, I’m too light. I’ll never be able to play against the bigger boys, especially in South Africa and obviously the guys from New Zealand.” 

“My dad always told me not to worry what other people said, just make sure to do what you set out for yourself.”

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Kolbe’s father played rugby.

“I was never big into rugby. I did athletics. Just getting to watch my dad each and every week and go to training with him. I just fell more in love with rugby and I just wanted to be like my dad as well.”

“He’s done everything for me that he could do,” Kolbe said.

“We haven’t had it easy. Growing up, we never had the best of things, but my parents always made sure that they could give me opportunities.”

“It’s been an unbelievable journey,” he said.

“I need to make sure that I keep working as hard as I can because there’s so much talent out there that can just come in at any time.” 

“I think the specifics of rugby nowadays with the impacts and the intensity, you’re lucky if you can play between 10 to 14 years of professional rugby, especially at the Top 14.”

Cheslin Kolbe was born and grew up in the northern suburbs of Cape Town and started his career with Western Province, winning the Currie Cup in 2014. 

He joined Toulouse in 2017 and said his decision to join Toulon was partly motivated by a desire to remain in the Top 14.

“I wanted to stay in France because myself and my family, we just love the culture,” he said.

“We’ve made friends that became family to us across France.”

He added that the family were contemplating staying “here as long as you can to hopefully qualify for our passports.” 

Kolbe played in the South African team that won the World Cup in 2019 and also collected a bronze medal as part of the sevens team in Rio in 2016.

The next rugby World Cup and Olympics will be in France.

The World Cup comes first.

“Yeah, 2023 is going to be massive, especially in France,” Kolbe said.

“For me, being here and playing here definitely helps.”

The Games follow in 2024.

“I’m not sure if my age is going to allow me to play in the next Olympics,” said Kolbe, who turns 28 later in October.

“Obviously, it will be a privilege for me whenever I get to represent my country and hopefully win that gold medal.”

“For me, the most important thing is just to play as well as I can, and the rest will take care of itself.

“I’m just doing the best that I can to make my family proud, make the people that support me, make them proud and just have a positive influence.”

Source : The South African More   

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Biden government to ask Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Tens of thousands of women took to the streets in cities across the country earlier this month, asserting their reproductive rights

Biden government to ask Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday said it would ask the Supreme Court to block a ban on most abortions in Texas, in the latest stage of a national battle over reproductive rights.

Last month, the US Supreme Court cited procedural issues when it decided by a 5-4 vote against intervening to block the highly restrictive Texas law. 

UPHOLDING ABORTION RIGHTS

It did not rule on the merits of the case brought by abortion providers.

Biden’s administration has vowed to fight the Texas ban, citing its interest in upholding Americans’ constitutional rights.

At stake is the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a woman’s legal right to an abortion.

READ: Abortion stigma a possible death sentence for Kenyan women

TEXAS BAN ‘OFFENSIVE DEPRIVATION’

Last week, US District Judge Robert Pitman, in response to a Justice Department lawsuit over the Texas law, issued a preliminary injunction halting its enforcement, calling it “flagrantly unconstitutional” and a violation of Roe v. Wade.

“This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right,” Pitman said in a blistering decision.

ABORTION LAW IN PLACE DURING PROCEEDINGS 

Days later, in a complex legal wrangle, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals effectively reinstated the ban in Texas on most abortions once a heartbeat is detected in the womb.

On Thursday, the court confirmed the law would remain in place during ongoing proceedings.

The whiplash and temporary nature of the rulings meant only a fraction of Texas’ abortion clinics had begun conducting the procedure again beyond what was allowed under the ban.

FORMAL APPEAL 

Anti-abortion groups cheered the reinstatement, even though the Biden administration was widely expected to appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Justice Department confirmed it “intends to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay.”

The department is expected to formally file its appeal in the coming days.

‘TEXAS HEARTBEAT ACT’ 

The “Texas Heartbeat Act” allows members of the public to sue doctors who perform abortions or anyone who helps facilitate them, once a heartbeat is detected in the womb – usually at around six weeks. 

They can be rewarded with $10 000 for initiating cases that lead to prosecution, prompting charges that the law encourages people to act as vigilantes.

The law makes no exception for victims of rape or incest.

UNDER CLOSE WATCH 

If the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, every state would be free to ban or allow abortions.

The court’s next move will be watched closely, with its initial refusal to intervene seen as confirmation of the bench’s swing to the right following a series of appointments by former President Donald Trump.

ASSERTING REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS 

The Texas law is part of a broader conservative drive to restrict abortions across the United States that has prompted a public backlash.

Tens of thousands of women took to the streets in cities across the country earlier this month, asserting their reproductive rights.

© Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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