Former France centre Mathieu Bastareaud has confirmed he will not return to Toulon for the first half of the 2019/20 season.
The centre has signed for Rugby United New York for their 2020 Major League Rugby season and had fully expected to be heading to the Rugby World Cup in Japan before being left out of Jacques Brunel’s squad.
Since then speculation has surrounded Bastareaud’s short-term future and although he won’t turn out for Toulon again this year, it is still a mystery as to what he will do.
Bastareaud was set a deadline of July 8th by Toulon to confirm his plans and the club have subsequently released a statement to inform the public of his decision.
“Mathieu Bastareaud and Rugby Club Toulonnais decided, by mutual agreement, to put an end to the contract linking them for this season 2019-2020. Mathieu Bastareaud wanted to take up a new challenge for four months before joining Major League Rugby and the New York team. In accordance with the commitments made to his former captain, the club has decided to accept his request for release from the contract,” the statement read.
The statement went on to thank the centre and leave the possibility of a return open when his time in the US is up.
“Rugby Club Toulonnais thanks Mathieu Bastareaud for his eight consecutive seasons, for his investment and his respect for the institution. President Mourad Boudjellal and all at RCT wish him a very bright future and obviously opens the doors to a return in the 2020-2021 season,” the statement added.
Bastareaud has been subject to offers from several clubs according to reports with French sides Stade Francais and Montpellier apparently seeking his services. As well as the French duo there were reports in France last week claiming Munster had made a “concrete offer” for him but where he will go next remains to be seen.
Steyn’s Rugby Career Could be Over
Double World Cup winner Frans Steyn could be set to call time on his career early following his latest triumph
Springboks great Frans Steyn looks likely to at least pull the curtain down on his European career in order to return to his homeland.
The two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who managed to pick up medals from the 2007 edition of the tournament and this year’s one, beating England in both finals, is currently contracted to French Top 14 giants Montpellier.
However, it is believed that he has held discussions with the club about ending his contract come the end of January instead of when it is supposed to expire in July and speaking to South African news-outlet Volksblad, he seems keen on settling down in his homeland.
“Rugby has always been an inspiration for the Afrikaners, especially for farmers. If we had a bad week, if we watch good rugby on Saturday, then everything is better again. Only good rain, a good rugby weekend gives us the power to face Mondays again. It is a privilege that many farmers do not have. We know what to do in the future and what we need to have in place. We want to raise our children here and are attached to the rural feel that Bloemfontein offers. We want our children to have a good experience here as my wife and I had when one grew up here,” he said.
The 32-year-old has a family farm in Bloemfontein and it is understood this is not the first time he has made the suggestion to return to the area, but it now looks more likely than ever that he will get what he likes.
Steyn is expected to return to the French club next week, where he would play until January before his possible move back to South Africa.
At this time it is unknown whether the back would continue his rugby career with local professional side the Cheetahs, who play in the PRO14, or whether he will end his career early, having played at the top level for such a long time already.
Toulon Set to Dump All Blacks Ace
Toulon are set to get rid of one of their players according to reports due to contract complications, which could allow them to chase another star player
A 2015 Rugby World Cup winner, Milner-Skudder agreed a three-year contract with the French giants last December, but has since been missing from action due to injury, not playing any rugby for the Hurricanes during the Super Rugby season.
The shoulder injury that left him out of the Hurricanes team also meant he could not compete for a place in the All Blacks World Cup squad earlier this year.
However, L’Equipe are now reporting that the complications that he has with his shoulder may mean that he cannot undergo a medical examination that is required before the French League approve a players contract.
It would be a huge blow for the 28-year-old, who was scooped up by the club at the same time as South African World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth, who is expected to join-up with the squad before the new year and start his respective three-year deal.
If Milner-Skudder’s contract is torn up he would probably need to recover from his shoulder problem before being on the radar of a new club.
Although it appears a blow for the French outfit, it turns out that it could work to their advantage, as it would free up a squad place and some budget to attempt to capture a different star.
The star that they are believed to be interested in is Wales’ back Liam Williams, who could be a casualty of the current Saracens crisis, but Toulon would be one of a number of French clubs competing for his signature, not to mention clubs from around Europe.
Racing Issue Short Statement on Nakarawa
There has been plenty of talk over what’s going on with Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa and Racing 92 and the club have finally released a statement on the matter
Racing 92 have issued a brief statement regarding second-row Leone Nakarawa following the forwards’ failure to arrive back at the club after his Rugby World Cup lay-off period.
Nakarawa, who played in all four of Fiji’s World Cup games, was expected to return to the club around the 28th of October according to reports. However, he is yet to return, with it understood that the French outfit did not agree to extend his leave and are not pleased.
In a short statement the club confirmed they wanted an interview with Nakarawa before handing him any punishment.
“Racing 92 have provisionally laid off Leone Nakarawa and summoned him to an interview prior to a possible sanction. The club will make no further comments about this decision,” a statement on the club website read.
It is believed that he has remained in Fiji to help build a house for his family, but did not clear up the situation with his employers beforehand.
A tweet by Pacific Rugby Welfare last week stated that Racing knew where and what the lock was doing, but it appears as though that is not the case.
Nakarawa is thought to be one of the highest earning players at the club and is regarded as one of the best players in his position on the planet, although we will now have to wait and see what he does next following this saga of events.
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