Bok star Cheslin Kolbe ends speculation over future with Japan move

Bok star Cheslin Kolbe ends speculation over future with Japan move

Springbok winger Cheslin Kolbe's playing future has finally been confirmed after it was announced he has agreed to join Suntory Sungoliath in Japan.

Kolbe was looking for a new home after departing French club Toulon following their recent Challenge Cup success.

While it was hoped he might return to South Africa, with rumours suggesting a possible return to the Stormers, ultimately the local franchises could not match the salaries on offer elsewhere.

"I'm so happy to confirm I will be joining Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath in the Japan Rugby League One competition after this year's World Cup," Kolbe said in a statement released by his management company, Roc Nation Sports International.

"This is going to be a new chapter and challenge in my career, and I'd like to thank everyone who made the move possible. Suntory is a team with an impressive history, and I am looking forward to making new memories with the team over the seasons ahead. To the fans, I hope to put in some performances that you can all enjoy. See you soon!"

Suntory Sungoliath also confirmed the signing on social media as they welcomed Kolbe to Tokyo.

Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation Sports International, believes moving to Japan will prove beneficial to the World Cup winner's career.

"Cheslin's decision to join Suntory marks an incredible opportunity for him both personally and professionally. It is a testament to his dedication, talent, and relentless pursuit of excellence. We are confident that this move will not only elevate his game but also provide him with new experiences and an expanded global platform."

Kolbe represented Western Province and the Stormers between 2012 and 2017, before he left for France to play for Toulouse. He joined their rivals Toulon in 2021.