Springboks star Cheslin Kolbe talks of rejoining Stormers over almost before they started - WP Rugby

File. Once upon a time when Cheslin Kolbe played for the Stormers in 2017. The Springbok star will, however, not be rejoining the Cape side. Picture: Ricco/BackpagePix

File. Once upon a time when Cheslin Kolbe played for the Stormers in 2017. The Springbok star will, however, not be rejoining the Cape side. Picture: Ricco/BackpagePix

Published Jun 7, 2023


Cape Town – An “informal discussion” around the possibility of Cheslin Kolbe joining the Stormers did not evolve into a formal offer for the Springbok star to return to home, Western Province Rugby announced on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Kolbe has been the subject of much speculation around his future after he spoke about his departure from French club Toulon at the end of the European season.

Kolbe had another year left on his contract with Toulon, but the player and the team decided to part ways following their Challenge Cup triumph in the final against Glasgow Warriors.

The former Blitzbok speedster suggested that he wanted to stay at Toulon in an Instagram post, having shed some tears on the Aviva Stadium pitch in Dublin after the Challenge Cup final, where he was the Man of the Match.

“An emotional couple of weeks it has been for me and my family. Some people might not understand, neither do I, but as I was told ‘it’s a business’, to put my feelings aside.

“Despite it all, I have tried my best. Sometimes our plans don’t always align with God’s plans for us.

“I just want to thank each and everyone whom I have crossed paths with, the supporters, my teammates and all staff for everything.

“It’s not easy for me to say goodbye, but such is life. France has been our home for 6 years, 3 kids later and it will always be home for us.

“Hopefully this is not goodbye, but see you soon. Thank you once again, I had hoped for a better ending.”

Since then, Afrikaans media organisation Netwerk24’s Sunday newspaper Rapport wrote that Kolbe had apparently turned down a R15 million per year contract offer from the Stormers, and that he was likely to move to a Japanese club for R22 million per season.

But his wife Layla refuted the story on Netwerk24’s Facebook page, commenting: “I am so sick and tired of having to read articles (about) us that are sensationalised and speculation!

“And we have to just sit back and watch how our name gets tarnished! First it was said it’s not safe in South Africa for us, now it’s this!!! Cheslin did not say it’s not safe enough in SA for us.

“He would’ve loved to go back to the Stormers!

“Secondly: he did not turn down a R15m offer!!!! That was not put on the table.

“Yes the wife spoke out.”

In a recent interview with Cape Talk radio, Stormers coach John Dobson said it was not possible to bring Kolbe back to his former team.

“I’ll tell you... they released his offer to us last week, and they came back with a number that was probably the GDP of Lesotho. We are in administration, and that number is just impossible.

“But we definitely need to strengthen our outside backs. (After Seabelo) Senatla’s serious injury, we are paper thin in that area, those two centres (Ruhan Nel and Dan du Plessis) are overplayed. As of today, we are scrambling for two backs.”

On Wednesday, WP Rugby said in a statement that there was no contract extended to Kolbe.

“Western Province Rugby has moved to clarify that no formal offer has been made to Cheslin Kolbe or his representatives to join the Stormers.

“Recent media reports have suggested that Kolbe was made an offer to return to Cape Town, but a WP Rugby spokesperson explained that these engagements did not progress beyond initial exploratory conversations.

“There was an informal discussion around Cheslin’s availability and interest in joining our squad, but it is important to note that at no point was there a commitment to any figure or contractual details.

“Cheslin Kolbe is one of the premier rugby talents in the world and a proud product of our system, but there was never any formal offer made to him or his representatives.

“We are committed to building on the huge strides that our team has made over the last two seasons by continuing to develop the considerable talent we already have within our system, and making strategic acquisitions where necessary.”

The Stormers have been linked with fullback Warrick Gelant, who left Cape Town for French club Racing 92 last season, and another former player in Dillyn Leyds, who is currently at Champions Cup winners La Rochelle in France.

Kolbe is set to join up with the Springbok squad in Pretoria on Sunday for a training camp ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on July 8.


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