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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.

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Steyn’s Rugby Career Could be Over

Double World Cup winner Frans Steyn could be set to call time on his career early following his latest triumph

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(Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Springboks great Frans Steyn looks likely to at least pull the curtain down on his European career in order to return to his homeland.

The two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who managed to pick up medals from the 2007 edition of the tournament and this year’s one, beating England in both finals, is currently contracted to French Top 14 giants Montpellier. 

However, it is believed that he has held discussions with the club about ending his contract come the end of January instead of when it is supposed to expire in July and speaking to South African news-outlet Volksblad, he seems keen on settling down in his homeland. 

“Rugby has always been an inspiration for the Afrikaners, especially for farmers. If we had a bad week, if we watch good rugby on Saturday, then everything is better again. Only good rain, a good rugby weekend gives us the power to face Mondays again. It is a privilege that many farmers do not have. We know what to do in the future and what we need to have in place. We want to raise our children here and are attached to the rural feel that Bloemfontein offers. We want our children to have a good experience here as my wife and I had when one grew up here,” he said. 

The 32-year-old has a family farm in Bloemfontein and it is understood this is not the first time he has made the suggestion to return to the area, but it now looks more likely than ever that he will get what he likes. 

Steyn is expected to return to the French club next week, where he would play until January before his possible move back to South Africa. 

At this time it is unknown whether the back would continue his rugby career with local professional side the Cheetahs, who play in the PRO14, or whether he will end his career early, having played at the top level for such a long time already.

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Toulon Set to Dump All Blacks Ace

Toulon are set to get rid of one of their players according to reports due to contract complications, which could allow them to chase another star player

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All Blacks back Nehe Milner-Skudder may not even arrive in France to take up his contract with Toulon with the club to cut-ties with him according to reports in France.

A 2015 Rugby World Cup winner, Milner-Skudder agreed a three-year contract with the French giants last December, but has since been missing from action due to injury, not playing any rugby for the Hurricanes during the Super Rugby season. 

The shoulder injury that left him out of the Hurricanes team also meant he could not compete for a place in the All Blacks World Cup squad earlier this year. 

However, L’Equipe are now reporting that the complications that he has with his shoulder may mean that he cannot undergo a medical examination that is required before the French League approve a players contract. 

It would be a huge blow for the 28-year-old, who was scooped up by the club at the same time as South African World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth, who is expected to join-up with the squad before the new year and start his respective three-year deal. 

If Milner-Skudder’s contract is torn up he would probably need to recover from his shoulder problem before being on the radar of a new club. 

Although it appears a blow for the French outfit, it turns out that it could work to their advantage, as it would free up a squad place and some budget to attempt to capture a different star. 

The star that they are believed to be interested in is Wales’ back Liam Williams, who could be a casualty of the current Saracens crisis, but Toulon would be one of a number of French clubs competing for his signature, not to mention clubs from around Europe.

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Racing Issue Short Statement on Nakarawa

There has been plenty of talk over what’s going on with Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa and Racing 92 and the club have finally released a statement on the matter

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(Photo by REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Racing 92 have issued a brief statement regarding second-row Leone Nakarawa following the forwards’ failure to arrive back at the club after his Rugby World Cup lay-off period.

Nakarawa, who played in all four of Fiji’s World Cup games, was expected to return to the club around the 28th of October according to reports. However, he is yet to return, with it understood that the French outfit did not agree to extend his leave and are not pleased. 

In a short statement the club confirmed they wanted an interview with Nakarawa before handing him any punishment. 

“Racing 92 have provisionally laid off Leone Nakarawa and summoned him to an interview prior to a possible sanction. The club will make no further comments about this decision,” a statement on the club website read. 

The lock has been taken off the club roster ahead of their opening Champions Cup game against holders Saracens this weekend following the decision. 

It is believed that he has remained in Fiji to help build a house for his family, but did not clear up the situation with his employers beforehand. 

A tweet by Pacific Rugby Welfare last week stated that Racing knew where and what the lock was doing, but it appears as though that is not the case. 

Nakarawa is thought to be one of the highest earning players at the club and is regarded as one of the best players in his position on the planet, although we will now have to wait and see what he does next following this saga of events. 

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