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Cheslin Kolbe replaced by Boks and sent for 'medical tests'

By Josh Raisey
Cheslin Kolbe of South Africa looks dejected after defeat to Ireland during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Ireland at Stade de France on September 23, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Winger Cheslin Kolbe has been released from the South Africa squad in order to undergo a medical examination for a knee complaint.


The double World Cup winner was included in the 35-player Springboks squad last week, but will now withdraw to have a niggling knee issue examined. This is a problem that the 30-year-old picked up in Japan while playing for Tokyo Sungoliath this year.

Kolbe has been replaced by loose forward Celimpilo Gumede, who has been released by the Bulls this week ahead of their United Rugby Championship semi-final against Leinster on Saturday. The 23-year-old has already trained with the squad.

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Rassie Erasmus on Test at Twickenham

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Rassie Erasmus on Test at Twickenham

“Celimpilo has been playing impressive rugby this season and we are excited to see how he integrates in the squad and what he has to offer at training,” said Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to the Vodacom Bulls for allowing him to join us at short notice, especially at such an important point of their Vodacom URC season.”

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Kolbe has now emerged as a doubt for South Africa’s contest with Wales at Twickenham on June 22, with the two-Test series with Six Nations champions Ireland following shortly after in July.

The world champions will bring to an end the first week of their training camp this Friday before re-assembling on Sunday in preparation for the Wales match the following weekend, with the playing squad set to be announced on Tuesday.


Erasmus said after naming his squad that “there are a few unlucky players who missed out on selection this time, but the door will always be open for them to be called up if the need arises.” The head coach has remained true to his word, with the uncapped Gumede now in contention to make his debut against Wales.



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