Springbok Rugby World Cup-winning wing Cheslin Kolbe has left Toulon three months before South Africa begin the defence of their title, the French club announced on Monday.
“Rugby Club Toulonnais and Cheslin Kolbe have mutually agreed to release each other from their commitments at the end of the 2022-2023 season. This allows Cheslin Kolbe to commit to a new project from the 2023-2024 season,” said the club in a statement.
Kolbe, who is 29, joined Toulon from Top 14 rivals Toulouse in 2021, and scored six tries in 18 matches this season despite an ankle sprain which sidelined him for a month.
“I would have liked to have stayed at Toulon, but the financial constraints on clubs and injuries made things difficult,” Kolbe said on the club website.
Cheslin Kolbe off to Japan?
He had one year left on his contract. French rugby media has reported for several months that he has been courted by clubs in Japan.
The 1.71m (5-foot-7) speedster has struggled with injury, but started at fullback on May 17 as Toulon beat Glasgow in the European Challenge Cup final.
Kolbe was back on the wing on Sunday as Toulon ended their season by beating Bordeaux-Begles in the last round of the Top 14 but failing to qualify for the playoffs.
The club said Kolbe “will be honoured at the end-of-season Garden Party organised on Monday and Tuesday”.
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse