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Webb’s Short-Term Future Looks Bleak

Last week Rhys Webb secured a move back to former team the Ospreys come the end of the season, but this week he will be far from happy as he looks set for a disappointing second-half of the season with current club Toulon

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb appears as though he may have played his final game for Top 14 giants Toulon with the club’s owner far from happy with the player’s behaviour surrounding his move back to the Ospreys.

It was confirmed last week that Webb’s original three-year deal with Toulon would be cut short by a year to allow him to return to the Ospreys for family reasons. 

However, Toulon owner, Bernard Lemaitre, seems far from impressed by how Webb went about his return and claimed that it is unlikely that he will put on a Toulon jersey again. 

“His family returned to Wales, it’s difficult for him to live. We made beach-sized amounts of time for him to go back to Wales and see them. We arrive at a situation where at the end we liberate Rhys of his final year of his contract, which is of the 2020-21 season. All of a sudden we learn he has already signed for his former club Ospreys and his agent had already negotiated with the Welsh union that he can be selected by Wales. It’s a dishonest attitude. It takes us to a situation that means I don’t think Rhys will play for us for the rest of the season. The adventure will be cut short,” he said while speaking to French radio station Sud Radio. 

Having only left the Ospreys at the end of the 2018 season to join the French outfit, his time in France looks to be ending even sooner than he would have liked having claimed last week that he would give his all to Toulon for the remainder of the season. 

That means that despite Wales announcing last week that Webb would be eligible for selection by national team head coach Wayne Pivac in the upcoming Six Nations campaign that he may have no game-time between now and then, leaving it unlikely for him to be selected. 

All of which could mean that Webb could be left out of action until he next plays for the Ospreys in the 2020/21 pre-season. 

It would be a massive blow for the 31-year-old, who was upbeat about a return to the club that he previously spent 10-years at, and with time ticking some time-out of the game could have more long-term consequences on his national career as players will hope to impress in his absence.

International

Wales to Face Japan in the Summer

Wales have confirmed that they will play Japan in the summer along with their clashes with the All Blacks

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(ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Wales have announced that they will take on Japan in the far east this summer with the venue to be confirmed in due course.

It will be Wales’ first time back to Japan since their Rugby World Cup campaign last year, where they went on to finish fourth following a semi-final loss to eventual winners South Africa and another loss to the All Blacks in the third-place play-off. 

The match will take place on June 27th, ahead of the team’s trip to New Zealand where they will play two tests against the mighty All Blacks and head coach Wayne Pivac is looking forward to the recent World Cup hosts. 

“Going back to Japan for Wales will be a really big fixture on the back of a really successful Rugby World Cup for Japan as hosts both on and off the field. The squad and Welsh Rugby Union made a huge impression on the country in the lead up to and during the World Cup and attracted a lot of local support so it will be great to take the squad back to Japan for the first summer test,” he said. 

Wales’ neighbours England are also set for a return to Japan in the summer, with Eddie Jones’ side set for a two-test series against the Brave Blossoms. 

It is a huge boost for the Japanese team, who will now get to face some top-tier nations following their incredible World Cup displays and will now have the chance to continue their progression at the top-level of the game. 

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6 Nations

Huge Relief for Jones Ahead of Six Nations

Eddie Jones will be a relieved man with one of his key men set to return from injury this weekend

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England prop Kyle Sinckler is set to return to action for Harlequins this weekend in what is welcome news for England head coach Eddie Jones.

Sinckler missed out on last weekend’s loss to Sale Sharks in the Premiership having gone off injured during Quins draw with Leicester the week before. 

The England star left the field of play in the 65th minute of that match and the worst was feared as medical staff helped him come off. 

However, the tighthead is in line to return to the starting line-up for Quins trip to Bath in the Champions Cup this weekend. 

It is a massive boost for Jones, who lost his star early in the Rugby World Cup final last year due to concussion and would have been worried that he would once again be without him for the country’s Six Nations opening game against France on February 2nd. 

If he can stay fit between now and then Sinckler appears to be nailed on for a starting role in what will be the team’s first game since their World Cup loss to South Africa

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International

Cruden Not Thinking About All Blacks

With Aaron Cruden set for his return to Super Rugby action in the coming weeks many have questioned whether he may return to the All Blacks fold, but the player himself is not concerned with all the talk

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(Photo credit JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

Chiefs fly-half Aaron Cruden is set to make his much anticipated return to rugby in his homeland in the coming weeks as the 2020 Super Rugby begins and it has got fans tongues wagging.

The 31-year-old, who is returning to New Zealand following a two-year stint in France with Montpellier, has excited fans with his return and they are now wondering if he may get another chance to play for the All Blacks. 

Before his departure to France Cruden picked up 50 caps for his country, but has failed to add to that due to his move abroad. However, his return goes hand in hand with change in the All Blacks set-up as Ian Foster begins his reign as head coach. 

Entering a new era in All Blacks history could mean that a slot could open up for Cruden to put his hand up for selection if he can hit the ground running for the Chiefs, with Beauden Barrett’s position in the team still up for debate with many preferring him as a full-back. 

Meanwhile, Richie Mo’unga is a natural No 10, but some appear to have question marks over his place in the team. 

However, despite all the talk as to the possibility of his return to the national side Cruden insists he isn’t thinking about anything other than the task at hand with the Chiefs. 

“I just want to contribute to each environment I’m in and haven’t thought too much about the All Blacks. I’ve been removed from that environment for a few seasons and there have been a lot of changes in that scene as well,” he said while speaking to the media. 

A stumbling block in fans hope for his return to the national fold is that he is set to leave the Chiefs after just one season and head to Japan where he will play for the Kobelco Steelers, meaning he may not be a long-term option and therefore not come into Foster’s thoughts. 

Whatever happens on the national scene Cruden’s return to the franchise where he won two Super Rugby titles in his first stint sees him link up with new head coach Warren Gatland and he was full of praise for the former Wales head coach. 

“His pedigree speaks for itself, you can see what he’s been able to do with the Welsh national side. He’s obviously a passionate Waikato/Chiefs man and having him back in the region will do wonders for this team. He’s brought his own style and structure to training and, talking to a lot of the boys they are really energised. It’s a lot more player-driven with coaches there to provide guidance and a bit of structure, giving the players the allowance and energy to bring things to life which is awesome,” he added. 

Although unlikely the talk of Cruden’s possible comeback in an All Blacks jersey will not go away any time soon and if he can impress this season who knows what might happen. 

For now he has his sights on the Chiefs and with their season opener against the Blues fast approaching Cruden will hope to help him and Gatland get off to the perfect start on their return to New Zealand.

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