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Kolbe recalled to start as Toulon and Lyon name cup final teams

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Nicolas Tucat/AFP via Getty Images)

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World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe has recovered from a broken thumb to take his place in the Toulon team for Friday’s European Challenge Cup final versus Lyon in Marseille. The Springboks winger suffered the injury in last month’s round of 16 win over Benetton on April 16. 

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He was operated on the following Wednesday and is now back in the Toulon line-up five weeks later for an all-French European final against an opposition they trounced 43-10 at Lyon in early April in the Top 14. Kolbe was one of the Toulon try-scorers that day and he now takes his place in an XV showing two changes from the recent semi-final win over Saracens

Kolbe comes in on the right wing for Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo, the scorer of that crucial, late solo try which eliminated the Londoners in the last round, while Julien Heriteau is at outside centre in place of Mathieu Smaili. Both Wainiqolo and Smaili are named on a bench where Raphael Lakafia and Anthony Belleau lose out from the last day.  

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Lyon, meanwhile, have made just a single change to a starting XV that includes Joel Kpoku following their semi-final win over Wasps. Ex-Leicester back-rower Jordan Taufua is back to skipper the team from No8, an inclusion that sees Patrick Sobela move to openside and Beka Saginadze dropping out. On the bench, Mickael Ivaldi and Hamza Kaabeche and Colby Fainga’a are all included at the expense of Yanis Charcosset, Jerome Rey, Temo Mayanavanua. 

TOULON: 15. Aymeric Luc; 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Julien Heriteau, 12. Duncan Paia’aua, 11. Gabin Villiere; 10. Louis Carbonel, 9. Baptiste Serin; 1. Jean Baptiste Gros, 2. Christopher Tolofua, 3. Beka Gigashvili, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Brian Alainu’uese, 6. Cornell du Preez, 7. Charles Ollivon (capt), 8. Sergio Parisse. Reps: 16. Anthony Etrillard, 17. Bruce Devaux, 18. Emerick Setiano, 19. Swan Rebbadj, 20. Mathieu Smaili, 21. Julien Blanc, 22. Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo, 23. Facundo Isa.

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LYON: 15. Toby Arnold; 14. Josua Tuisova, 13. Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. Davit Niniashvili; 10. Leo Berdeu, 9. Baptiste Couilloud; 1. Sebastien Taofifenua, 2. Guillaume Marchand, 3. Demba Bamba, 4. Joel Kpoku, 5. Romain Taofifenua, 6. Dylan Cretin, 7. Patrick Sobela, 8. Jordan Taufua (capt). Reps: 16. Mickael Ivaldi, 17. Hamza Kaabeche, 18. Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19. Felix Lambey, 20. Loann Goujon, 21. Jean-Marc Doussain, 22. Colby Fainga’a, 23. Xavier Mignot.

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