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Champions Cup

Savea “not welcome” at Toulon Anymore

Some of these quotes are astonishing.

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Following Toulon’s 19-10 loss to Agen yesterday their club president Mourad Boudjellal has struck out at his players especially Julian Savea.

Boudjellal has been unimpressed by his sides performances this season as they currently sit 11th in the Top 14 table with only six wins from 16 games and he did not hold back his anger when speaking about Savea in particular.

“I’m going to ask for a DNA test. It is not Savea that we recruited but ‘Savéapas’,”

he said to French publication RMC Sport.

“I am going to ask for a DNA test,” “Saveaapas not recruited but Savéapas, who had to change him on the plane. I would apologize and I would go home and when you get to that level of play, you have to apologize and leave, maybe it’s just a matter of self-esteem. Is it me who feeds my family or is it the club? “

Savea who left the Hurracaines in native New Zealand for the French giants last year has struggled to live up to his expectations following an international career in which he scored 46 tries in only 54 matches.

Even though he has played out of position in the centre rather than on the wing Boudjellal has banished him from the club from what has been gathered.

“I told him he was released, and he was no longer welcome at Toulon! He has got a year left on his contract. He can do what he wants. A year can be long for the club but especially for the player… for me he is released,” he continued.

The remarkable attack on one of the greatest wingers the world has ever seen wasn’t the end of his comments either.

“This Toulon team has done a lot of bad to the club. And if the players put in as much effort on the pitch as they do in negotiating their contracts, we would be champions of Europe!” he added when speaking of the team as a whole.

Boudjellal also lashed out at young fly-half Anthony Belleau.

“He caught the virus of the French team. They do not know how to play anymore, and I understand why he is not a member of the French team given his current level …” he also stated.

The president also warned the remainder of the team that unless they perform, they will face a similar fate to that of Savea.

“Some players are average because they want to leave and others because they have a cheque to take, and they cannot find a better cheque elsewhere. Many will be released,” he said.

In the final words of his incredible attack at the team was that he told them that he is likely not to go to their games until the end of the season as he has other preferences.

“We are not sure to see me at the stadium by the end of the season, I prefer to go to the Cirque Pinder!” he said.

With regards to Savea it appears as though he will be replaced by fellow All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder, who agreed a three-year contract with Toulon in December. He will join up with the team in June, but where Savea will go remains to be seen.

He may return to New Zealand, much like Ma’a Nonu if possible, to try and recreate the form that saw him reach such amazing heights before his move abroad.

However, it was reported that Toulon were looking at the possibility of gaining Dan Carter’s services until the end of the season, but it was confirmed today that he will return to former club Racing 92.

https://twitter.com/racing92/status/1097160738295242753

The club are in a situation now where they face the possibility of not only having a bad season but poor ones to follow as most player’s will be put off signing for them after seeing the treatment Boudjellal has shown his current crop of stars.

Champions Cup

Saracens Handed Another Huge Set-Back

Saracens have had a tough few days and things have got worse yet again as one of their star youngsters has been ruled out for the remainder of the season

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Saracens’ terrible week has just gone from bad to worse with the confirmation that prop Ralph Adams-Hale has been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.

The 22-year-old picked up an ankle injury on Saturday during Sarries first win over Gloucester at Kingsholm in four years and was stretchered off the pitch. 

It was confirmed that he underwent surgery on Sunday and will go under the knife once more in the coming days to fix the injury, which will now leave him sidelined for the remainder of the season. 

Adams-Hale had started the season brightly with two starts and two sub appearances in the team’s first four games to follow on from his Premiership final appearance last season, but this is a cruel blow for him individually as he joins star full-back Liam Williams on the injury list.

Meanwhile, it is yet another set-back for the club as a whole, who were hit with a £5.3 million fine as well as a 35-point deduction following breach of salary cap regulations. They are fighting the decision, but if they fail in their appeal they will sink to the bottom of the Premiership table. 

Currently on 13 points they would drop to -22, a whopping 26-points off current basement side Leicester who have only picked up four points from their first four games. 

Head coach Mark McCall has confirmed that if it comes to it Saracens will sacrifice their Champions Cup crown to focus on avoiding relegation from the English top tier. 

“We have got a plan for the worst-case scenario which will affect our strategy around the Champions Cup. Our job at the moment if the points deduction remains and the appeal is not successful is to try to stay up and that is what we will try and do,” he said last week. 

Meanwhile, as well as those blows the reigning English and European champions could face punishment from the European body following their absence from last week’s Champions Cup launch day, with another fine most likely on the way. 

Saracens will hope things will get better soon with the return of some key international stars, and will look to kick-start their European campaign on a high when they take on French giants Racing 92 this weekend.

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6 Nations

Munster Star in Six Nations Fitness Race

Munster have confirmed that one of their key men is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines which could put his Six Nations spot in doubt

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Munster fly-half Joey Carbery is set for yet another spell in the sidelines according to head coach Johann van Graan due to injury.

Van Graan confirmed that Carbery is still suffering from an ankle injury which he sustained during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Italy and is not able to put a return date for his comeback  due to the nature of the injury. 

“He is going to be out for some time. We got to make sure he gets his strength back and we get that ankle fully functional. From Joey’s point of view, obviously, he wants to play but his body is not right. Because of the type of injury he is definitely not going to be back in the next few weeks, I can tell you that,” he said on Carbery. 

The out-half was selected ahead of Leinster’s Ross Byrne in Ireland’s World Cup squad despite carrying the injury. However, it was reiterated throughout the tournament that he had fully recovered, which now appears to be untrue. 

His head coach also told reporters that the 23-year-old will not undergo surgery on the injury. When asked about the possibility of Carbery playing before Christmas van Graan admitted he is hopeful but he cannot be sure right now. 

“I hope so. At this stage it is very difficult for the medical team to determine that. Because he has had it for quite a while the most important thing now is Joey’s health. He is a Munster player. He is under my watch now so we have got to look after him. He is very important for the national team, I believe, for the future of Irish rugby,” he added. 

It is a massive blow for the Munster player who only moved from Leinster ahead of last season, and after starting brightly in the red jersey he picked up a hamstring injury that left him out for large portions of the season. 

The fear for Carbery now however is that due to the nature of the injury and the inability to place a return date, he could face a race to be fit for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign at the start of February next year. Carbery will hopefully be back in action and back to match fitness by then as he will want the chance to impress new head coach Andy Farrell during his first tournament at the helm.

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Champions Cup

Another Connacht Ace Signs Contract Extension

Connacht have confirmed that a fourth player in two days has signed an extension with the province

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Connacht have announced that captain Jarrad Butler has put pen to paper on a contract extension with the western province.

The 28-year-old, who joined them in 2017, going on to play more minutes than any other player in the PRO14 since then, has decided to commit to the men in green until the summer of 2022 meaning he will be with Connacht for a minimum of five years. 

Butler is excited to continue on with the club and is looking forward to the future with Connacht. 

“I am delighted to commit my future to Connacht for a further two seasons. We have some real leaders within our squad, and I was hugely honoured to take over the role of captain last season. There is a real sense of ambition within the player group which extends right throughout the staff and supporters of the province. I am really looking forward to the seasons ahead in a Connacht jersey,” he said. 

Butler won Connacht’s Player of the Year award after making an instant impact following his arrival and after showing his influence was given the club captaincy. 

Meanwhile, head coach Andy Friend is also delighted to have the player stay on and believes his signing shows how ambitious the club are heading into the future. 

“Jarrad has proven himself to be a hugely consistent and versatile player. That consistency along with his unrelenting work rate are what make him an outstanding leader. His contract extension is significant as we aim to deliver success to the province,” he said. 

His signing is another thing for fans to cheer about as they discovered yesterday that star trio of Tiernan O’Halloran, Sean O’Brien and Tom Farrell have all signed on until the summer of 2022 much like Butler. 

As well as the extensions supporters have seen their province have a bright start to the season as they currently sit second in Conference B of the PRO14 on 19-points after five games only a point behind table toppers Munster

They will hope to continue their impressive start when they host reigning champions Leinster in their first inter-provincial derby of the season on Friday as some of their international stars are also set to return to the line-up following their time off after the Rugby World Cup with Ireland.

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