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Bastareaud Sorts Out Toulon Contract Situation

Mathieu Bastareaud has decided whether he will stay with Toulon or not ahead of his move to the US

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(Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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.

Rugby Championship

Australia centre confirms French move

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Australia centre Tevita Kuridrani said on Wednesday he will end his Test career as he joins French Top 14 club Biarritz next season.

Kuridrani, 30, who made the last of his 61 Wallabies appearances at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, has signed a two-year deal with the newly promoted outfit from the Basque Country.

He has spent almost a decade with two Australian franchises.

“Thank you @brumbiesrugby @wallabies and the @westernforce for 10
incredible years in Super Rugby and 6 in the green & gold,” he posted
on Twitter.

“Time for a new chapter,” he added.

Kuridrani made his debut for the Brumbies in 2012, going on to play 135 games for the club.

He would become a stalwart of the club as he nailed down a starting spot in his second season, helping the club to the Super Rugby Final and a historic win over the British and Irish Lions.

The 31-year-old moved to the Western Force in 2021, playing an integral role in their maiden finals appearance in Super Rugby AU.

Fijian-born Kuridrani, who would still be eligible for his country having won more than 60 caps, will link up with fellow Australia back Henry Speight at the Parc des Sports d’Aguilera as well as ex-New Zealand centre Francis Saili and former England No. 8 Steffon Armitage.

Biarritz, five-time French champions, have also signed Argentina scrum-half and Force teammate Tomas Cubelli and Ireland prop James Cronin as they return to the top flight for the first time in seven years.

Source – Australia Rugby

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Top 14

Zebo Expected to Extend French Stay

Simon Zebo appears set to continue his stay in France according to reports

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Racing 92 star Simon Zebo looks set to extend his stay in the French capital for another season according to Irish news outlet Independent.ie.

The 30-year-old has been at Racing for two seasons and has a clause to extend his time there to a third season if activated. 

Having impressed last season, the former Munsterman has had an injury-hit campaign this time around through concussion and breaking his foot, before the domestic and European season were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

However, when he has managed to play this season he has caught the eye and it is thought that the French giants are keen for him to put pen to paper on a new deal too. 

That would see the Cork native remain unable to add to his 35-caps for Ireland due to the overseas rules held by the IRFU, while it would also see him face a further challenge for minutes on the pitch with Wallaby ace Kurtley Beale appearing likely to join Racing in the summer. 

While a third-year in Paris seems set to be in Zebo’s short-term future, in the long-term it is unknown where he will end up, but admitted while speaking to Off the Ball yesterday that he would only return to Ireland to play for former side Munster

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Super Rugby

French Giants Eying Deal for Beale

Kurtley Beale could be set to leave the Waratahs for Europe this summer according to reports

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(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale looks set to leave the Waratahs for French Top 14 giants Racing 92 a report in the Daily Telegraph claims.

The 31-year-old has been key to the Super Rugby franchise and it would be a major blow to lose a player of his quality ahead of next season. 

However, despite the potential move across to Europe and Racing it would have no effect on his standing in the international set-up as he currently has 92-caps for the Wallabies to his name putting him well ahead of the 60 needed to be selected by an overseas player. 

With new head coach Dave Rennie coming in during the summer to take over from Michael Cheika it is unknown whether or not Beale will remain an integral part of the team. 

He was vital during Australia’s Rugby World Cup campaign last year and with his versatility he will hope that Rennie sees him as an asset to his side. 

Although he is not the only Wallaby that is being reported to leave Super Rugby with Melbourne Rebels pair Matt Philip and Luke Jones also set to depart for France according to Fox Sport, with Pau their likely destination. 

All of these potential moves would be problematic for the Australian-based Super Rugby sides, who are struggling as it is and without star men sticking around the future looks bleak.

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