It’s not so much the personal contract for Cheslin – believed to be around £1m per season – what’s incredible about this deal is the amount of money Toulon are prepared to pay to buy him out of the remaining two years of his Toulouse contract – reportedly around £1.5m.
Kolbe, 27, is now level with world rugby’s top earners – Bristol Bears wing Charles Piutau and South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard at Montpellier, with Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) just behind on £900k a year followed by Saracens pair Maro Itoje (£850k) and Owen Farrell (£750k).
In a business sense, where is the return on Toulon’s initial outlay given the way they play compared to Toulouse? Toulouse are the best team in France and Europe – arguably the best club side in the world – and play incredible rugby. Unless Toulon are planning on building a side exactly the same as Toulouse they will not get the best out of someone like Cheslin.
South Africa don’t get the best out of him because of their strategy and the way they play.
However Toulouse were getting everything they possibly could out of him – and the other way round. Toulouse loved having Cheslin as a player and they saw his potential four years ago when he arrived from the Stormers yet to break into the South Africa side, having starred for their U20s and Sevens teams.
His partnership with Toulouse has been harmonious – Cheslin has been integral to them, and them to him.
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