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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



(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.

Rugby Transfer Rumours

Savea Clarifies Club Future

Julian Savea has given an update of where he will be next season after a rough first year with Toulon



(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Julian Savea has confirmed that he will remain at Toulon next season despite a hard-opening season in the Top 14.

The former All Blacks winger turned centre came under a huge amount of criticism from club owner Mourad Boudjellal throughout the season, but he has taken to Twitter to declare his loyalties to Toulon.

Toulon play their final game of the season this weekend and as well as admitting he is excited about the game Savea took time to reply to a fan and confirm that he will remain in France.

The 27-year-old came under severe scrutiny during the season with the club’s owner saying he wanted a DNA test among other comments before admitting he may have been a bit harsh.

The French giants have had their worst season ever in the Top 14 and have missed out on Champions Cup rugby for the 2019/20 season with Savea being only one of a number of under performing stars.

In a bid to change their fortunes for next year the owner has already signed some more big names with players such as Eben Etzebeth, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Baptiste Serin all heading their way.

It appears as though Savea has taken his chance to turn his fortunes around and will such a star-studded team already confirmed for next season the fans will hope that there will be a swift return to Europe’s premier competition.

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Top 14

Irish Coach Signs with Racing 92

One of Ireland’s most exciting coaches will continue his development with Racing 92 next season



(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Former Munster scrum-half Mike Prendergast has signed a new long-term contract with French side Racing 92. 

The ex-red has been signed up as the new attack and backs coach for next season, as the 41-year-old leaves Stade Francais after just a year.

It had been reported previously that Prendergast, who joined Paul O’Connell at Stade Francais, would depart for Toulon during the summer but those rumours have now been put to bed.

He was also linked with a return to Munster however, the southern side will have to look elsewhere for a new attacking coach.

Prendergast will be joined at Racing by Laurent Travers, who is the new director of rugby at the club, Patricio Norgieria, who comes in as the forwards coach and Chris Moore who will take over as the defence coach.

The move also means that he links up with other ex-Munster men Simon Zebo and Donnacha Ryan in Paris.

The coach’s CV is ever-growing having started off as a director of rugby at Young Munster before coaching jobs at Grenoble, Oyonnax and Stade Francias, which makes him one to look out for in the future.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

O’Gara Set for French Return

Ronan O’Gara’s future could be sorted out very soon as an announcement looks imminent according to reports



(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Ronan O’Gara appears set to sign a three-year contract with La Rochelle to become their new backs coach, according to French reports.

O’Gara’s future has been under a lot of speculation in recent months and it now seems as though he could be joining up with the Challenge Cup runners-up, having lost to Clermont in the final last Friday.

The former Munster man would take over from Xavier Garbajosa, who left the club yesterday. The club announced in a statement that director of rugby Jono Gibbs will discuss his coaching staff come the end of the season.

O’Gara has been working as the backs coach with the Crusaders in Super Rugby, being part of a coaching set-up that has helped the New Zealanders win back-to-back titles.

He has plenty of experience in France, having worked as an assistant with Racing 92, beginning as a kicking coach before moving to becoming a defence coach.

The other options that have been mentioned are possible moves to the French national team or return to Munster, who have lost both Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones as coaches in the past week.

Wherever he goes he seems to bring success and if he does move to La Rochelle, they may be aiming for more than just the Challenge Cup next season.

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