Bok star Kolbe back for Toulon's European Challenge Cup final

South African star Cheslin Kolbe will start on the wing for Toulon in their European challenge Cup final against Lyon on Saturday.

South Africa winger Cheslin Kolbe, seen with Didier Lacroix, the president of French rugby giants Toulouse, will be Stadiste until the end of the 2022-2023 season. Picture: @StadeToulousain/Twitter.

MARSEILLES - South African star Cheslin Kolbe will start on the wing for Toulon in their European challenge Cup final against Lyon on Saturday.

Kolbe, who won last year's Champions Cup with Toulouse before his big money move to Toulon, has been out of action since an April 20 operation on a broken thumb.

But the 28-year-old World Cup winner has been deemed fit enough for the evening showdown at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

Kolbe's recall sees Fiji's Rio Olympic sevens gold medallist Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo drop to the bench, while in-form Frenchman Gabin Villiere occupies the other wing berth.

Kolbe is joined in the Toulon side by fellow South Africans Eben Etzebeth and Cornell Du Preez, the latter having represented Scotland on the international stage.

Former Samoa and New Zealand under-20 representative Jordan Taufua skippers Lyon after himself making a comeback from a calf injury that saw the No 8 sidelined for the last month.

"I'm feeling pretty good, my body's very well rested," Taufua said Thursday. "I'm lucky enough to be ready for Marseille.

"We're confident in our forwards to stand up to Toulon's forwards. They're a physical pack, but so are we.

"It'll definitely be two dominant forward packs going at each other and it's going to be whoever wins that contact zone" that will win the game, said Taufua.

Teams (15-1)

LYON

Toby Arnold; Josua Tuisova, Pierre-Louis Barassi, Charlie Ngatai, Davit Niniashvili; Leo Berdeu, Baptiste Couilloud; Jordan Taufua (capt), Patrick Sobela, Dylan Cretin; Romain
Taofifenua, Joel Kpoku; Demba Bamba, Guillaume Marchand, Sebastien Taofifenua

Replacements: Mickael Ivaldi, Hamza Kaabeche, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Felix Lambey, Loann Goujon, Jean-Marc Doussain, Colby Fainga'a, Xavier Mignot

TOULON

Aymeric Luc; Cheslin Kolbe, Julien Heriteau, Duncan Paia'aua, Gabin Villiere; Louis Carbonel, Baptiste Serin; Sergio Parisse, Charles Ollivon (capt), Cornell Du Preez; Brian Alainu'uese, Eben Etzebeth; Beka Gigashvili, Christopher Tolofua, Jean Baptiste Gros

Replacements: Anthony Etrillard, Bruce Devaux, Emerick Setiano, Swan Rebbadj, Mathieu Smaili, Julien Blanc, Jiuta Naqoli Wainiqolo, Facundo Isa

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)