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Montpellier’s New Director of Rugby Announced

There has been plenty of talk in recent months as to who will take over from Vern Cotter at Montpellier, but the Top 14 side have now confirmed their new man

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Top 14 outfit Montpellier have announced that Philippe Saint-Andre will take over the role of director of rugby next month.

The former French head coach has been out of the game since the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has since gone on to set up PSA Academies which coaches rugby to young players across England, Ireland and France. 

However, despite being out of the professional game for some time he has landed the job the club’s president Mohed Altrad confirmed in an interview with L’Agglorieuse. 

“We changed coaches, (Xavier) Garbajosa arrived. (Jean-Baptiste) Elissalde has arrived (as an assistant). Next month, Saint-Andre will arrive. And we will continue to progress,” he said. 

Saint-Andre will take the reins from current director of rugby Vern Cotter and does have experience in the position having performed the role at the likes of Gloucester, Sale Sharks and Toulon previously. Under his watch the Sharks went on to win the Premiership title in 2006 so fans will be hoping for a similar result. 

However, his arrival means that former Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has missed out on the appointment having been favourite to take the role at one point. Cheika has been out of work since calling time on his career with the Wallabies and we will now have to wait and see where his next job lies.

Rugby Transfer Rumours

Lyon Confirm Two New Signings

French Top 14 leaders Lyon have wasted no time preparing for next season, announcing the arrival of two new summer signings ahead of next season

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Current French Top 14 table toppers Lyon have captured the signings of two new players for next season already.

The first of those comes from Irish province Connacht, with the up and coming French outfit bringing in star back-row Colby Fainga’a. 

Fainga’a has been a standout performer since his move to Ireland a year and a half ago and it had been reported that he may depart in the summer over the past few weeks in Irish media. However, it has now been confirmed and is a massive loss for the western province, but a major coup for Lyon. 

Meanwhile, their other new face comes in the form of American player Joe Taufete’e, who will leave English Premiership side the Worcester Warriors to link up with Lyon come the end of the current campaign. 

Taufete’e has been with the the Warriors since 2016, but made a big impact during the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year while playing for the US and was sought after by some sides with Lyon coming out on top. 

The signings have been brought in to try and strengthen their squad in order to compete at both domestic and European level having failed to make an impact in the Champions Cup pool stages this season, being knocked out and winning only one of their six games. 

Their form in the Top 14 however has been incredible, winning 11 of 14 matches so far and will be focusing on clinching the title this season, but can look forward to having their new additions come next season.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

Clermont Eying Japanese Ace

Top 14 side Clermont are looking into the possibility of signing one of Japan’s Rugby World Cup stars come the end of the season according to reports

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French Top 14 giants Clermont are lining up a move for Japan star winger Kotaro Matsushima at the end of the current season.

The flying winger gained a huge amount of admirers during last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, going on to finish joint-second in the try-scoring charts following a string of impressive performances for the host nation. 

However, despite all the hype surrounding the 26-year-old he remained with Japanese Top League side Suntory Sungoliath. 

Reports in France are claiming that both Nick Abendanon and Remi Grosso are set to leave Clermont once the season ends and that they are seeking replacements for them already. 

One report by rugbyrama.fr states that the club were originally interested in Racing 92’s Brice Bulin but that they have opted for Matsushima instead. 

It would be a huge opportunity for the player if the move goes through and would be a massive addition to Clermont’s already star-studded side.

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Super Rugby

Savea Confirms his Favourite Between Super Rugby and Top 14

Julian Savea has had a mixed couple of seasons since leaving the Hurricanes and he has now confirmed which competition he prefers between Super Rugby and the Top 14 and why

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Toulon star Julian Savea has admitted which competition he prefers between Super Rugby and the Top 14 while being interviewed by Toulon’s website.

The former All Blacks ace, who managed to score 46 tries in just 54 international appearances, played for the Hurricanes for eight seasons before his move to Toulon, confirmed that the former competition would be his preference due to the season length. 

“I’d go Super Rugby, just because it’s a smaller competition. The Top 14’s definitely a long season, and the shorter the better. When pressed further on his stance, Savea replied: [It’s] a little bit different, just because now you have to maintain all your players because it’s a longer season, and just making sure that everyone’s always ready to play. In Super Rugby, you don’t have to count for that many injuries because the season’s short,” he said. 

It comes as little surprise that Savea would choose Super Rugby having managed to make 116 appearances for the Canes scoring 45 tries along the way and helping them to their first title in 2016. 

However, his reasoning for choosing the competition is unusual considering he has suffered a tough time since his move to France. His relationship with recently departed owner Mourad Boudjellal caught the headlines for the wrong reasons, with the owner appearing to try to push Savea out of the club last season. 

Although both Savea and his current club are experiencing better fortunes this season with the club now sitting third in the table and firmly within the play-off places thanks to a 43-3 win over Castres yesterday. 

Savea’s point about player welfare and keeping them fit during the long season rang through in that game with the winger missing out due to illness as they reached the halfway-point. 

Next up for Toulon and Savea is a Champions Cup clash with the Scarlets in Wales, before a game against Bayonne to finish off the pool stages as they look to progress to the knock-out stages. 

While next up in the Top 14 is a clash against second-placed Lyon on January 25th, but while his short-term future clearly lies in France, Savea’s comments raise the possibility of a future return to Super Rugby.

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