The news had been in the pipes since the start of the week. It was formalized by the RCT this Friday. The Var club has achieved the big blow of the year by recruiting the South African star Cheslin Kolbe (27 years old). The winger, who currently plays in the Rugby Championship with the Springboks, therefore leaves Stade Toulousain after four seasons (2017-2021), two Brennus Shields (2019, 2021) and a Champions Cup (2021).
According to our information, the RCT signed a check between 1 and 1.5 M € to buy back the two years of contract remaining in Kolbe at the Stade Toulousain. The player’s salary would drop from around 40,000 euros net per month (benefit included) to a total of close to 50,000 euros.
At the heart of this incredible transfer, there is Toulouse’s need for money, which has particularly suffered from the health crisis in view of its economic model. The departure of the winger with the support of fire thus allows the champion club of France to reduce its payroll and obtain a substantial transfer allowance which could be partly reinvested in recruitment.
This unexpected divorce is also the result of a disagreement on the salary increase of the world champion (2019) who hoped to reach one million euros per year. Toulouse did not have the means to match such a sum, and did not want it anyway, to remain consistent with its policy. The RCT will allow Kolbe to approach his financial goal.
“We promised ourselves that we would henceforth be less dependent on internationals because we paid a heavy price last season. But there, it is an exception made for an exceptional player, justified the president of the RCT Bernard Lemaître in the columns of Var Matin Thursday. Many things are now favorable to Toulon. It is an important operation and not easy to carry out to be in the nails of the salary cap. It’s a completely exceptional opportunity, especially since we needed a winner in the back lines. For a more average player, we would not have done it. “
Other reasons led Stade Toulousain to let its South African star go: his repeated injuries (blow to the iliac crest and broken finger in 2020-2021), his less striking performances (only one test in 2021). ) or the prospect of long and recurring absences because of the national selection.
Toulon will also be immediately confronted with this last problem since it will pass several more months before seeing Kolbe exchange the red and black jersey of Toulouse for that of the RCT. The South African (16 caps) still has several deadlines with the Springboks, between the end of the Rugby Championship (until October 2) and the autumn tour (Wales on November 6, Scotland on the 13th, England on the 20th), interspersed with a compulsory vacation period. He could thus play his first match with the Var club during the month of December. More than three months after his resounding transfer.