Preview: Springbok Kolbe set for Toulouse return
TOP14, WEEK 10: South Africa’s World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe plans to keep his feet on the ground as he is set to return to action with club Toulouse in the Top14 this weekend.
Kolbe, 26, scored in the final as the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis trophy for a third in Japan earlier this month to round off a year which included claiming The Rugby Championship the French domestic title for the side-stepping wing.
“Although winning a few trophies is special, I’ll remain the same person and just keep my feet on the ground,” Kolbe said earlier this week.
“You can easily go the other way or just stay humble. With the teammates and the people I have around me it’s very humbling,” he added after accepting the Top 14’s player of the season award on Monday.
The week-long celebrations in the rainbow nation after the success in Yokohama included an open top bus tour around the republic.
“We want to give a lot of hope and unite the country because us as players we take some things for granted,” Kolbe said.
“Personally as a player I want to create as many memories on the field but much more off the field.
“If I can put a smile on the face of a young kid or an elderly lady or man, I’m really satisfied. I do this game to do the best I can but also to inspire the people,” he added.
Champions Toulouse welcome promoted Bayonne to Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday and Kolbe is ready to make his first appearance of the campaign after missing 11 matches due to his international commitments.
“I’ve been available ever since I’ve landed. I’m injury free so whenever I’m selected I’ll be happy,” he said.
“If I do get selected I’ll just give the best I can on the field to respect the jersey,” he added.
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) November 28, 2019
Pollard, Etzebeth on standby
Two of Kolbe’s fellow World Cup winners in Handre Pollard and Eben Etzebeth have joined him in the French top-flight this season but have yet to feature for their new clubs.
Flyhalf Pollard is a doubt for Montpellier who host league leaders Lyon on Saturday as he recovers from a facial injury he suffered during the celebrations of the Bok victory.
Lock Etzebeth only arrived at three-time European champions Toulon on Thursday and will miss the weekend’s trip to Pau.
Elsewhere, retired France centre Wesley Fofana will make his return from the thigh injury which ruled him out of the World Cup as Clermont host Agen to make his first appearance since August.
On Sunday, bottom side Stade Francais travel to Brive in their first league fixture since former Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer was sacked earlier in the months and replaced by the club’s former players Julien Arias and Laurent Sempere.
Top 14 fixtures:
Saturday, November 30
Racing92 v Bordeaux-Begles
La Rochelle v Castres
Clermont v Agen
Pau v Toulon
Montpellier v Lyon
Sunday, December 1
Brive v Stade Francais
Toulouse v Bayonne
In other news: