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What ex-Toulon star Vermeulen has made of their Cheslin Kolbe coup

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Former Toulon great Duane Vermeulen has welcomed the spectacular decision by Springboks teammate Cheslin Kolbe to last week join the Mediterranean-based French club from Top 14 rivals Toulouse. Both Vermeulen and Kolbe are currently with Jacques Nienaber’s South African squad in Australia ahead of their country’s four remaining Rugby Championship matches. 

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The Springboks’ September 12 meeting versus Australia on the Gold Coast is expected to witness a first Test appearance for Vermeulen since his man of the match effort in the November 2019 World Cup final versus England.  

An ankle operation following a June 2021 injury while on Rainbow Cup duty with the Bulls ruled Vermeulen out of the Springboks’ recent return to the international arena, their win over Georgia followed by the series success versus the Lions and the back-to-back Championship victories against Argentina.  

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Duane Vermeulen speaks about the impact of Jasper Wiese with the Springboks

It was shortly after the Springboks arrived in Australia last Friday that it was officially confirmed by Toulon that Kolbe was now their player, the club reportedly agreeing to an annual salary of €1million after buying out the remainder of the coveted winger’s contract at Toulouse. 

That means Kolbe will be free to play for Toulon from late December onwards rather than return to Toulouse where he had been contracted until June 2023 and Vermeulen, the veteran of a three-year stint at Toulon between 2015 and 2018, believes his Test squad colleague is the spark capable of transforming the French club’s style.

Asked about the million euro transfer during a virtually held Springboks media briefing from Australia, Vermeulen told RugbyPass: “Toulon is a fantastic club that has got a rich history but Toulouse has got the same type of history. There is a lot of history in both clubs. For Toulon, it’s a massive bonus to get Cheslin at the club. There has been a lot of South Africans through there who have played for that club, a lot of legends who have played so it’s a nice mix for them. 

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“It’s a little bit different to what Toulouse play, a nice running, offload style of rugby where Toulon is maybe a little bit different. The arrival of Cheslin might bring some extra spark in the backline and you might see them play a different style of rugby. It’s a great asset to have.”

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TOP 14    

What ex-Toulon star Vermeulen has made of their Cheslin Kolbe coup

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