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Nakarawa Sacked by Racing 92

Racing 92 have confirmed that star lock Leone Nakarawa has been sacked by the French giants

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(Photo by REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa has been sacked by French powerhouse Racing 92 the club has announced.

The star second-row, regarded by many as the best player in his position on the planet failed to report back to club duty following his country’s Rugby World Cup pool stage exit as he was reportedly helping build a house for his family in the Pacific Islands. 

It was reported previously that Racing had tried to get in contact with the Fijian during his absence from the club, but were unable to reach him and in a statement by the club today they confirmed he had been dismissed of his role. 

“After a few days thinking about the legal deadlines, Jacky Lorenzetti has decided to break Nakarawa’s contract. This decision, taken in consultation with the sporting director of the club, follows on from the proven disciplinary manoeuvres of Nakarawa who, in particular, did not show up at the resumption of the training programme on October 28. Nakarara, moreover, refused to answer the messages that the club addressed to him after having noted his unjustified absence and was willing to fix the date of his return,” the statement read. 

Having been named the 2018 European Cup player of the year and being seen as a leader among the dressing room, Racing admitted they were unimpressed by the example he was setting for the younger players and thus came to their conclusion. 

“His abandonment of his post for more than two weeks has been a serious prejudice to Racing… moreover, it is a deplorable example for Racing players as his title of best player in the 2018 European Cup should have encouraged him to be exemplary. At Racing, the only star is the team and the individualistic attitude of Nakarawa is inconceivable. It indicates a total lack of team spirit and a characterised insubordination. In the interests of preserving the institution of Racing, this decision of rupture was imperative,” the statement ended. 

The 31-year-old joined the Top 14 outfit in 2016 following a stint with the Glasgow Warriors and on the back of winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio in sevens with Fiji. 

However, his behaviour has lead to an unhappy ending in France, although his absence from the game may be short-lived as he is rumoured to be on the radar of some English Premiership teams following his Racing departure.

Top 14

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.

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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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