Clermont lock Sebastien Vahaamahina is set to make his return to the playing field this weekend against Toulon in the Top 14 following his Rugby World Cup ban.
The former French forward was banned for six-weeks following a flying-elbow into the face of Wales back-rower Aaron Wainwright during the World Cup quarter-finals.
At the time French were in total control of the game at the time and only meters out from the Welsh try-line when Vahaamahina elbowed Wainwright during an attacking maul.
His actions saw him dismissed immediately and with only 14-men on the pitch for the last 30 minutes his team could not hold on to their lead as Wales battled back to claim a dramatic late win.
The player received a huge amount of backlash for the incident and decided to call time on his international career shortly after.
However, he has now served his ban and is set to play on Sunday due to injuries leaving his side short of options and being unable to simply ease him back into the team.
That means that he will come back into action with a baptism of fire as he comes face to face with World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth, who will be lining-up for Toulon.
Vahaamahina will be hoping to put in a good shift for his side with both them and the opposition two of four teams locked on 24-points in the table, only separated by points difference.
Clermont currently sit in third, with Toulon back in sixth but it could completely change depending on Sunday’s result, with everything on the line the former France international will need to be at his best and have his wits about him.
Australia centre confirms French move
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
“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.
Zebo Expected to Extend French Stay
Simon Zebo appears set to continue his stay in France according to reports
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.
French Giants Eying Deal for Beale
Kurtley Beale could be set to leave the Waratahs for Europe this summer according to reports
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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