The DHL Stormers are looking for game-breaking backs, but re-signing Cheslin Kolbe isn’t an option for coach John Dobson.
Top 14 club Toulon on Monday afternoon confirmed they had reached a mutual agreement with Kolbe for an early release from his contract.
The Springbok speedster still had one year to go on the three-year deal that he signed when he joined Toulon from rivals Toulouse in 2021.
With Kolbe – who has won a Top 14, Champions Cup and Challenge Cup title during his time in France – now a free agent, there won’t be an end to the list of suitors hunting his signature.
However, his former club the Stormers won’t be one of those, as Dobson revealed in an interview with Cape Talk that the Cape franchise, still under administration, cannot afford the move.
“They reached out to us last week and came back with a number that probably was the GDP of Lesotho,” Dobson told host John Maytham when asked about Kolbe, who started his career in the Western Cape and played for the Stormers between 2013 and 2017. “We are under administration.”
Dobson added that the Stormers are looking for other options to strengthen their outside backs, especially after Seabelo Senatla suffered a career-threatening injury in a car accident.
“We definitely need to strengthen in the outside backs. With [Seabelo] Senatla’s serious injury, we are paper thin in the back three. We are scrambling for two proper game-breaking backs.”
Kolbe has been heavily linked with a move to Japan, with reports suggesting that Suntory Sungoliath is his likely destination.
The World Cup winner has hinted that he would have wanted to stay in France, but according to reports, Toulon had to release him because of their own financial situation.
“Some people might not understand, neither do I, but as I was told ‘it’s a business,’” Kolbe said in an Instagram post.
“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 every one 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 home for six years, three kids later and it will always be home to us. Hopefully, this is not goodbye, but see you soon.
“Thank you once again, I had hoped for a better ending.”
Photo: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images