Kolbe set to make his Toulon debut
TOP 14 PREVIEW: Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe is in line to make his Toulon Top 14 bow at Stade Francais on Sunday.
Wing Kolbe joined Toulon in August in a reported 1.8 million euros ($2.12 million).
The Bok star moved to the three-time European Cup winners from Toulouse.
Meanwhile, Kolbe’s Springbok teammate Trevor Nyakane is also set to make his Racing 92 against Champions Toulouse on Saturday.
Racing are currently eight on the table and will host the second-placed Champions, who received a great boost in the form of France captain Antoine Dupont.
The French star is expected to play his first game in seven weeks on Saturday after the scrumhalf suffered a knee issue and contracted coronavirus.
Dupont, 25, stood in as Test skipper for the injured Charles Ollivon during the November series and is set to do so again for the upcoming Six Nations after last playing on December 11’s European Champions Cup win at Cardiff.
The world player of the year is one of five club teammates who were unable to join up with Les Bleus’ pre-tournament camp near Marseille this week after testing positive for the illness.
“We hope everyone will be fit to play this match,” Toulouse forwards coach Jean Bouilhou told reporters on Thursday.
“We’re not necessarily counting on them but it lifts your spirits to say that we will be able to count on some of them,” he added.
On February 5, Dupont is likely to start at scrumhalf in his country’s opening Six Nations game with Italy, eyeing a first trophy since 2010.
He is expected to start alongside fellow Toulouse playmaker Romain Ntamack with head coach Fabien Galthie keeping faith with the pair unlike his predecessors.
Galthie’s side host the next Rugby World Cup and have lost just once at home since the former captain took over three years ago.
“When you play scrumhalf for France, there is always a big expectation,” Dupont said.
“In the last 10 years, I don’t know how many half-back partnerships have been tested, not a single one was able to keep playing because the results didn’t follow.
“Now we keep playing, I know the expectation is enormous and I have no margin for error.
“It’s even more intensified by the fact there’s the World Cup in France in 2023 and because we have a promising generation, which has had good results,” he added.
Fixtures (times GMT)
Bordeaux-Begles v Castres (14.00)
Brive v Biarritz (16.00)
La Rochelle v Montpellier (16.00)
Perpignan v Lyon (16.00)
Toulouse v Racing 92 (20.05)
Pau v Clermont (17.00)
Stade Francais v Toulon (20.05)