Cheslin Kolbe leaves the Stormers
Cape Town – The bad news that Stormers fans would’ve hoped to not hear is now reality – Cheslin Kolbe is leaving Cape Town. The 23-year-old excitement machine has signed for Toulouse, the French club announced on Wednesday.
Kolbe is set to join up with his new team for the 2017-18 season, but it is unclear if he will play in the Currie Cup or not, although he is contracted to WP until the end of the South African season.
Kolbe will join veteran Springbok Gurthro Steenkamp at the club, with the loosehead prop having joined the former European champions in 2011, as well as former Cheetahs tighthead Maks van Dyk.
Other South Africans who formerly played at Toulouse were Kolbe’s Stormers teammate Jano Vermaak, as well as Gaffie du Toit, Daan Human, Gary Botha and Shawn Sowerby. Toulouse are currently fourth in the French Top 14 standings, and director Fabien Pelous – the former French captain and lock – believes Kolbe can bring something different to the club.
“I spotted this unusual player in the South African rugby at the U20 World Cup which was held in France, during which Cheslin had electrified many opponents. Since then, with his experience in Super Rugby, he will be complementing our team as a finisher,” Pelous told the club website.
“No doubt his speed qualities, hooks, excellent kicking game and his aerial recovery skills will be assets.”
Kolbe, who won a bronze medal with the Springbok Sevens at the Rio Olympics last year, will still be a key figure for the Stormers in Super Rugby this season.
But the Cape side do have other options at fullback, with new signing SP Marais from the Bulls, as well as Dillyn Leyds, who played at No 15 for the SA Under-20s when they won the Junior World Championship in 2012.
The Stormers’ first Super Rugby game is against the Bulls at Newlands on February 25 (7.30pm kickoff), but there are three warm-up matches as well – Cheetahs (January 28, Harare), SWD (February 4, George) and Lions (February 11, Newlands).@ashfakmohamed