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Report: Cheslin Kolbe set to quit Top 14 after six years in France

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Clement Mahoudeau/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe is set to quit the Top 14 in France before the start of the next World Cup. The 29-year-old is currently contracted to Toulon through to the summer of 2024 but it has now been reported that the 2019 World Cup winner will instead head to Japan in July 2023.

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Kolbe’s deal with Toulon, whom he joined after winning the 2021 Top 14/Champions Cup double with Toulouse, apparently has a break clause in it at the end of the current season. His suggested early exit would help Toulon target recruitment in areas of the team that are of more pressing concern, according to a report in Midi Olympique.

Having played for the Springboks in their three recent Autumn Nations Series matches, Kolbe arrived back in Toulon this week with a thigh injury that is likely to sideline him for four weeks. It’s a layoff that won’t be popular at a club where Eben Etzebeth, his fellow Springboks international, exited under a cloud of indifference to join the Durban-based Sharks last summer.

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The report in the French media read: “Revealed on Monday in the columns of Midi Olympique, the hypothesis of a departure of Cheslin Kolbe from Toulon at the end of the season has continued to gain consistency in recent days. The 2019 world champion winger should, according to our information, head to Japan in July 2023.

“According to our information, the Springboks player, whose current contract until 2024 includes an exit clause in June 2023, should indeed leave the Var at the end of the current season. According to the latest news, the full-back or winger is leaving for Japan where a League One franchise would be able to afford his services.

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“At the same time, the release of the 2019 world champion, whose payments are among the highest in the Top 14, will allow Toulon to have greater leeway with regard to the salary cap. This will give them more means to densify less filled positions, such as back row and out-half, while having an additional non-Jiff place to fill.

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“For his part, after six years spent in France, Cheslin Kolbe will discover a new championship where his profile should do wonders. While waiting for this separation, which is looming on the horizon, there are just over six months left for the Springboks player to leave Mayol with his head held high.

“Currently injured in a thigh and absent for at least four weeks, the South African will undoubtedly be keen to conclude his Var adventure on a high note.”

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