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Springboks' Kolbe would prefer to face the Lions than go to Olympics
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  • 20 May 20
  • RugbyUnion
  • 4
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Final - England v South Africa - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan - November 2, 2019 South Africa's Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe pose with the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate after winning the world cup final. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo 691px 444px FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Final - England v South Africa - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan - November 2, 2019 South Africa's Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe pose with the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate after winning the world cup final. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's World Cup hero Cheslin Kolbe has said he would rather play against the British & Irish Lions next year and forego the chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

The winger, whose try in the closing stages of last year’s World Cup final in Japan sealed success against England, will likely have a difficult choice in 2021 when the re-arranged Tokyo Games clash with the Lions tour of South Africa.

Kolbe, 26, would stand a strong chance of selection for the South African 'Blitzbokke' -- the rugby sevens side which will be among the gold medal favourites in Japan.

He had previously said he would like to be selected but now that there is a date clash he has made clear his preference.

“It’s a tough decision but I would definitely choose taking on the British and Irish Lions,” he told the website Planet Rugby in an interview.

“Although I would love to play sevens for my country at the Tokyo Olympics, to be part of a Lions series is a goal I really want to achieve and I would like to be a part of that because it only happens every 12 years.

“Next year would be my only chance to face them, if I do get selected (for the Springboks), as I won’t be around for their next tour so I would definitely go for that option,” he said.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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