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Stormers line up 3 Kolbe alternatives as Bok's future looks decided

By Rugby365
Glasgow Warriors' Scottish wing Kyle Steyn (C) argues with Toulon's South African fullback Cheslin Kolbe (R) following a tackle during the European Challenge Cup rugby union final match between Glasgow Warriors (SCO) and Rugby Club Toulonnais (FRA) at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin, on May 19, 2023. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the conclusion of the United Rugby Championship last month, the Stormers have been hard at work trying to boost their roster.

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The first and most significant story that has been making the headlines is the transfer deal of Cheslin Kolbe.

The Springbok is currently on the market for a new club following his exit at Top 14 side Toulon.

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Kolbe and Toulon reached a mutual agreement for an early release from his contract and the 29-year-old is now set to look for greener pastures due to “financial constraints” in France.

Last week, in an interview with Cape Talk, Stormers head coach John Dobson admitted his team is in no position to land the signature of Kolbe given they are still under administration and simply could not deliver the star’s financial expectations.

On Sunday the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport revealed that the Stormers, with the help of a third party, has put in a new offer.

The Rapport stated that the new offer is in the region of ZAR15 million, which was ZAR4 million more than they offered him last year – close to what Toulon were paying him.

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However, it now appears that Kolbe has reportedly turned down the bid. According to reports he is eager to continue his career in Japan, at a reported salary of ZAR22 million, with Suntory Sungoliath the favourite to sign him.

With Kolbe’s deal more than likely not to occur, the Stormers have identified La Rochelle’s Dillyn Leyds, Racing 92’s Warrick Gelant along with Lions’ wing Edwill van der Merwe as alternatives to boost their backline.

According to Rapport, the 28-year-old Springbok Gelant could join the Stormers as early as July from Racing 92.

Gelant was an integral part of the Stormers’ United Rugby Championship campaign in 2022 – scoring five tries in 18 appearances.

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He had made 19 appearances for Racing 92 since joining them at the start of the season but has mostly been utilised as a substitute.

Leyds has been enjoying his time at La Rochelle since joining them in 2020. The wing was part of the La Rochelle team, who secured two consecutive Champions Cup titles.

Van Der Merwe has been stealing the show at the Lions – becoming one of the top try-scorers at the franchise.

In a recent interview with @rugby365com, the wing revealed he is happy at the Lions and has ‘been welcomed with open arms’ which he appreciates.

All three players previously played for the Stormers.

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Jon 5 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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