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Top 14

Former France Full-Back Retires at 33

One former French international has announced his surprise retirement come the end of the season

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(Photo credit FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Former France international full-back Scott Spedding has confirmed he will retire at the end of the current season. 

The South-African born 33-year-old, who is originally from Krugersdorp near Johannesburg, has had an eventful career in France having played for Castres, Brive, Bayonne and Clermont as well as the national side and admitted he has fulfilled his dreams.

“Rugby has been a part of my life since I was a little boy and it will continue to be but I will no longer play this beautiful game. I arrived in France 11 years ago with nothing else but a backpack and heart full of dreams. Never would I have imagined I would have experienced what I have experienced,” he said.

During his time in Clermont he lifted the Top 14 title in 2017 in what was the biggest moment of his club career to date. His current side Castres battling for a play-off spot with two regular season games remaining in a bid to defend their own Top 14 crown.

Spedding won 23 caps for Les Blues since his debut against Fiji in 2014 and featured during France’s poor 2015 World Cup campaign. However, the full-back known for his accurate long-range kicking from the tee and from his hands, has not been selected for France since 2017 in what was Guy Noves’ final game as head coach.

He was refused the status of a player who had come through an academy by the national league (LNR) even though he had represented the country and holds a French passport.

Spedding had taken the LNR to the Conseil D’Etat, France’s supreme court, in May 2018 and argued that their decision prevented him from “finding an employer” although that appeal was rejected in April.

He leaves the game with a good reputation even if his career wasn’t as long as some may have hoped for.

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Bastareaud Set for Positional Switch at Lyon

Mathieu Bastareaud has secured a short-term move to Lyon, but could he also be set for a positional move too?

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Lyon have announced the arrival of Mathieu Bastareaud on a short-term deal, but it now appears as though he may take up a new position too.

The 126kg centre has committed to Lyon until he sets off for the US and Major League Rugby in 2020 having been left out of Jacques Brunel’s French World Cup squad.

However, his short time at Lyon could leave a long-term impact on him as he may be set to move from his normal centre position to playing No 8.

“With Pierre (Mignoni), we discussed the possibility of playing at Number 8. I told him that I was not closed to play at that position. On the contrary, since we are talking about change, why not continue! It can also be exciting to take on this challenge over this period. After that, I think I still have a lot of work to perform at this key position. But we will try the bet!” he said to reporters.

Many have often wondered whether Bastareaud would be better suited in the pack due to his size, and with his pace declining it might be the ideal time for the transition.

Having been left out of Brunel’s World Cup plans unexpectedly, not even being named among the back-ups, Bastareaud was left without a plan between now and his switch to Rugby United New York next year.

He was said to be wanted by club’s in both France and across the globe for the next six months, with Montpellier, Stade Francais, the Sharks and Munster among the interested parties.

However, Lyon won the race and if he does decide to move to the back-row and succeed Brunel’s may wonder what could have been if France fail to fire at the World Cup. If he succeeds one would also wonder whether a future return to the international fold may be on the cards.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

Springbok Lock Heading Home After Six Years in France

Following a six-year stint in France one Springbok is heading back to his old stomping ground

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(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Springbok lock Juandre Kruger is returning to South Africa and the Bulls following a six-year stint in France.

The 17-cap Springbok, who made his last international appearance in 2013 before his move, is a welcome addition to the Bulls squad following the departures of Lodewyk de Jager and RG Snyman to Sale Sharks and Honda Heat respectively.

Kruger took to social media to confirm his return and is excited to be back.

“Hi Bulls family. Juandre Kruger here. It has been a while since I addressed you guys. For those who haven’t heard I am super excited to announce that I am heading back to my old stomping ground, Loftus. I have just done a deal with the Bulls and I will be joining the boys in December later this year. I am looking forward to making you proud. I’ll check you in a few months,” he said.

The 33-year-old will bring plenty of experience having previously played for the Bulls between 2008 and 2013 before heading to Racing 92 where he stayed for three-years, winning the Top 14 in his final year. He then moved on to Toulon whom he is leaving to re-join the Bulls.

The Bulls finished the Super Rugby season with eight wins out of their 16 matches in the regular season before going on to be defeated by the Hurricanes in the quarter-finals.

Kruger’s signing is the second of an impressive week for the Bulls after they announced the arrival of Scottish international Josh Strauss earlier this week. He will link-up with the squad following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

Wallabies Powerhouse Set for European Switch

One of Australia’s hookers seems set for a move to Europe next season according to reports

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(Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu could be on his way to Stade Francais next season according to French outlet Midi Olympique.

The report claims that the Waratahs player, who is in the Wallabies Rugby Championship squad for their upcoming campaign, has burnt his bargaining bridges with Rugby Australia following a drink-driving incident earlier this year.

That issue resulted in Latu pleading guilty to the charges and being handed suspensions both on and off the pitch. He received a four-match suspension and a $5,000 fine from Rugby Australia.

However, on the pitch Latu has been in good form and it is thought to be wanted by Heyneke Meyer at Stade Francais, who already have four Aussies in his squad in Paul Alo-Emile, Sefa Naivalu, Hughe Pyle and Tala Gray.

The Top 14 side have got three hookers on their books in Laurent Panis, Remi Bonfils and Lucas Da Silva, but the arrival of Latu would most likely become the first-choice hooker if he arrived.

Ironically if the move does come to be the 26-year-old would be joining a club that his current Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika used to manage.

Whatever happens, Latu will more than likely be heading to the World Cup in Japan with his country meaning any move away from the Waratahs would occur in November once the tournament concludes.

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