Top 14. Why Cheslin Kolbe’s departure may be good news for Toulon

Cheslin Kolbe will leave the RCT at the end of the season, without having left an unforgettable memory for the Toulon fans. (©Icon Sport)

It is a soap opera that is gradually approaching its denouement. Cheslin Kolbe Should indeed leave Toulon at the end of the 2022-2023 season. The Springbok’s lease with the current 8e of Top 14 runs until June 2024, but a clause in the latter allows him to leave the harbor club at the end of the current financial year.

And the latest news, the 2019 world champion is close to an agreement with a Japanese franchise, according to Midi Olympique. A departure that could ultimately prove beneficial for both sides, especially for the RCT. Here’s why.

Toulon dependent on the fragility and absences of Kolbe

The arrival of Cheslin Kolbe in the Var, in the summer of 2021, had however caused a stir. Author of a full 2020-2021 season in Toulouse, with a double champion of France / European champion, Cheslin Kolbe was under contract in the Pink City until June 2023. Toulon therefore had to take out the checkbook to buy back his two last years of contract, with an apparent amount between 1 and 1.5 million euros. However, his first 15 months in Toulon turned out to be rather chaotic between repeated injuries and incessant back and forth with the selection of the Springboks.

To begin with, Cheslin Kolbe only played his first minutes in the Var jersey in December 2021, due to his participation in the Rugby Championship 2021 and then a knee injury contracted with South Africa. The pocket winger then fractured his thumb in April 2022, which kept him away from the field until the Challenge Cup final against Lyon and the last day of Top 14 against Racing 92, attributed he a part taken.

A priced investment for Toulon

In the end, the former Stormers player (South Africa) concluded a 2021-2022 fiscal year with a meager record of 4 tries in 13 games, far from his usual standards with Toulouse: 10 tries in 24 games in 2017- 2018, 8 tries in 24 games in 2018-2019, 4 tries in 11 games in 2019-2020 (season interrupted by Covid-19) and finally 9 tries in 23 games in 2020-2021.

This 2021-2022 season also got off to a bad start for Cheslin Kolbe. Due to a jaw injury suffered last summer with the Springboks, he was unable to start the championship in time. For the moment, he has only appeared with the Rouge et Noir 4 times in the Top 14 and his 5e apparition is not about to happen any time soon. As if that weren’t enough, the Kraaifontein native was injured while scoring a try with South Africa in the fall test match won against Italy (21-63) on Saturday 19 November. His unavailability until the end of December should perhaps not be a problem for the RCT, between the satisfactory performances of Jiuta Wainiqolo and the return from injury of Gabin Villière.

A departure that will relieve the finances of the RCT

His departure could also be seen as a good thing for the RCT financially. Indeed, the 29-year-old supersonic winger is very expensive in Toulon. The South African receives a salary of 1.01 million euros per year, which makes him the highest paid player in Toulon, but also in the championship. By way of comparison, a Top 14 player earns an average of 235,000 euros per year.

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When we compare the staggering salary and the heavy compensation paid by the Toulon club to secure the services of Kolbe and the performance of the world champion in the Var, there is enough to tear your hair out. In total, Cheslin Kolbe has only played 17 games with Toulon to date. If we divide his number of games played and the price he cost the RCT, this gives a range between 59,000 and 88,000 euros per game.

As a result, his departure would have many minds, but especially the finances of the Var club. This will indeed allow Toulon to reduce its payroll limited by the salary-cap (salary cap) to sign another world-class player. We are already talking about Damian Penaud or Matthieu Jalibert on the Rade…

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