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Top 14

Springboks Duo Sign for Clermont

French giants Clermont have confirmed the signing of four players including two Springboks

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(Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Clermont have confirmed the signings of four players on short-term contracts as cover for the World Cup.

The French giants are expected to lose 12 players for the duration of the tournament in Japan and are making plans to replace their stars during that time.

The Top 14 outfit have confirmed the short-term signings of Springboks pair JJ Engelbrecht and Rudy Paige, both of whom were omissions from Rassie Erasmus’ squad for the Rugby Championship.

Engelbrecht arrives from Super Rugby side the Stormers while Paige comes in from PRO outfit the Cheetahs.

According to the French club’s official website the pair will play in the first eight matches of the 2019/20 season.

Engelbrecht comes in as centre cover for French duo Wesley Fofana and Damien Penaud, who are both included in Jacques Brunel’s World Cup squad.

13-capped Springbok Paige joins the club as scrum-half cover for Greig Laidlaw, who is on Scotland duty and Kevin Viallard who is out after suffering a knee injury.

Clermont have also confirmed the signings of Bath’s Max Lahiff and New Zealand forward Faifili Levave, as the club make sure they are well braced for their time without their key men.

Top 14

Bastareaud Set for Positional Switch at Lyon

Mathieu Bastareaud has secured a short-term move to Lyon, but could he also be set for a positional move too?

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Lyon have announced the arrival of Mathieu Bastareaud on a short-term deal, but it now appears as though he may take up a new position too.

The 126kg centre has committed to Lyon until he sets off for the US and Major League Rugby in 2020 having been left out of Jacques Brunel’s French World Cup squad.

However, his short time at Lyon could leave a long-term impact on him as he may be set to move from his normal centre position to playing No 8.

“With Pierre (Mignoni), we discussed the possibility of playing at Number 8. I told him that I was not closed to play at that position. On the contrary, since we are talking about change, why not continue! It can also be exciting to take on this challenge over this period. After that, I think I still have a lot of work to perform at this key position. But we will try the bet!” he said to reporters.

Many have often wondered whether Bastareaud would be better suited in the pack due to his size, and with his pace declining it might be the ideal time for the transition.

Having been left out of Brunel’s World Cup plans unexpectedly, not even being named among the back-ups, Bastareaud was left without a plan between now and his switch to Rugby United New York next year.

He was said to be wanted by club’s in both France and across the globe for the next six months, with Montpellier, Stade Francais, the Sharks and Munster among the interested parties.

However, Lyon won the race and if he does decide to move to the back-row and succeed Brunel’s may wonder what could have been if France fail to fire at the World Cup. If he succeeds one would also wonder whether a future return to the international fold may be on the cards.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

Springbok Lock Heading Home After Six Years in France

Following a six-year stint in France one Springbok is heading back to his old stomping ground

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(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Springbok lock Juandre Kruger is returning to South Africa and the Bulls following a six-year stint in France.

The 17-cap Springbok, who made his last international appearance in 2013 before his move, is a welcome addition to the Bulls squad following the departures of Lodewyk de Jager and RG Snyman to Sale Sharks and Honda Heat respectively.

Kruger took to social media to confirm his return and is excited to be back.

“Hi Bulls family. Juandre Kruger here. It has been a while since I addressed you guys. For those who haven’t heard I am super excited to announce that I am heading back to my old stomping ground, Loftus. I have just done a deal with the Bulls and I will be joining the boys in December later this year. I am looking forward to making you proud. I’ll check you in a few months,” he said.

The 33-year-old will bring plenty of experience having previously played for the Bulls between 2008 and 2013 before heading to Racing 92 where he stayed for three-years, winning the Top 14 in his final year. He then moved on to Toulon whom he is leaving to re-join the Bulls.

The Bulls finished the Super Rugby season with eight wins out of their 16 matches in the regular season before going on to be defeated by the Hurricanes in the quarter-finals.

Kruger’s signing is the second of an impressive week for the Bulls after they announced the arrival of Scottish international Josh Strauss earlier this week. He will link-up with the squad following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Rugby Transfer Rumours

Wallabies Powerhouse Set for European Switch

One of Australia’s hookers seems set for a move to Europe next season according to reports

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(Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu could be on his way to Stade Francais next season according to French outlet Midi Olympique.

The report claims that the Waratahs player, who is in the Wallabies Rugby Championship squad for their upcoming campaign, has burnt his bargaining bridges with Rugby Australia following a drink-driving incident earlier this year.

That issue resulted in Latu pleading guilty to the charges and being handed suspensions both on and off the pitch. He received a four-match suspension and a $5,000 fine from Rugby Australia.

However, on the pitch Latu has been in good form and it is thought to be wanted by Heyneke Meyer at Stade Francais, who already have four Aussies in his squad in Paul Alo-Emile, Sefa Naivalu, Hughe Pyle and Tala Gray.

The Top 14 side have got three hookers on their books in Laurent Panis, Remi Bonfils and Lucas Da Silva, but the arrival of Latu would most likely become the first-choice hooker if he arrived.

Ironically if the move does come to be the 26-year-old would be joining a club that his current Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika used to manage.

Whatever happens, Latu will more than likely be heading to the World Cup in Japan with his country meaning any move away from the Waratahs would occur in November once the tournament concludes.

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