Cheslin Kolbe: Springbok flyer says he is staying put at Toulon
Springbok and Toulon flyer Cheslin Kolbe has dismissed reports linking him with a move to a Japanese club at the end of the season, saying he is happy at the Top 14 outfit.
Last November, respected French rugby publication Midi Olympique reported that the 2019 Rugby World Cup winner would leave Toulon at the end of this season to further his career at an unnamed club in the Japan Rugby League One competition.
Contracted to Toulon until 2024
But the 29-year-old, who can play on the wing and at full-back, said he is planning to stay at Toulon, where he is on a contract until 2024.
“I’m not going to Japan, I’m not going anywhere, I’m staying here,” Kolbe told AFP.
“I still have a lot I would love to do and give back to this jersey. I’ll still be here until 2024.”
Kolbe will be joined in the Top 14 by his Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who will leave the Sharks to join Racing 92 after this year’s Rugby World Cup in France later this year.
“It’s a big win for Racing to get him. He’s a phenomenal guy, a phenomenal player,” Kolbe said.
“As a close friend of mine, wherever he goes, I’m happy.
“It’s a pity he didn’t choose to come to Toulon!” he joked.
World Cup favourites
The Boks will be based at Toulon’s training ground on the Cote d’Azur during the defence of their World Cup title.
Although France lost to Ireland in the Six Nations at the weekend, Kolbe feels the global showpiece’s host nation can still win the World Cup later this year.
Les Bleus’ defeat in Dublin on Saturday ended a 14-match winning streak which included victories over the All Blacks and Springboks as well as Six Nations Grand Slam in 2022.
“They’re definitely favourites going into the World Cup, especially based in France,” he said.
“After their performance in the Grand Slam, beating New Zealand and then us at the end of last year, they’re going in as favourites.
“We know as South Africans what it takes, the sacrifices.”
Kolbe’s immediate challenge comes this weekend when Toulon host his former club Toulouse at the Stade Mayol on Saturday. Toulon are currently in ninth position in the Top 14 standings, while Toulouse are sitting pretty at the top of the table.
Facing a big challenge
Toulon are a whopping 19 points adrift of Les Rouge et Noir, and Kolbe knows a tough task awaits his team.
“I was there for four and a half years, when I got to know the system quite well,” he added.
“I’m sure a lot has changed.
“Wherever I can have input and make things better for Toulon, it will help and make things easier for the team.”
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