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Scottish Star Heads to France

One of Scotland’s players that was left out of their Rugby World Cup squad has decided to move to the French Top 14

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Scotland star Josh Strauss has confirmed a short-term deal with French Top 14 side Stade Francais following his omission from the Rugby World Cup squad.

Having made his international debut for Scotland in 2015 the South African made what could be his last appearance for the national side last Saturday when he came off the bench against Georgia before being left out of Gregor Townsend’s squad.

The 32-year-old has wasted no time dwelling on his omission and has been unveiled as a World Cup joker for Stade Francais on what is a minimum three-month contract.

“This challenge is really exciting in this period of the World Cup. It’s a great opportunity in my career and in my life. Everything happened very quickly. I had to make a quick decision and I’m very happy to be here. I already worked with Heyneke Meyer and I already know some players in the team. I’m very happy to join the Stade Francais Paris,” he said.

The club’s head coach Heyneke Meyer is delighted to have Strauss on board to bring experience in while others are in Japan.

“We have several absentees in our squad following injuries or players selected for the World Cup. We have therefore been looking for an experienced profile to overcome the youth of our group. Josh has played for the Scottish national team, has a lot of experience, but most of all, he’s going to give us his leadership. I’m glad he joins the club,” he said.

It will be interesting to see where Strauss ends up after his short-term deal whether he stays on in France or heads somewhere else but what also remains to be seen is if he will play for Scotland again in the future.

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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(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

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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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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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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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