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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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(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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.

Top 14

Zebo Expected to Extend French Stay

Simon Zebo appears set to continue his stay in France according to reports

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Racing 92 star Simon Zebo looks set to extend his stay in the French capital for another season according to Irish news outlet Independent.ie.

The 30-year-old has been at Racing for two seasons and has a clause to extend his time there to a third season if activated. 

Having impressed last season, the former Munsterman has had an injury-hit campaign this time around through concussion and breaking his foot, before the domestic and European season were suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

However, when he has managed to play this season he has caught the eye and it is thought that the French giants are keen for him to put pen to paper on a new deal too. 

That would see the Cork native remain unable to add to his 35-caps for Ireland due to the overseas rules held by the IRFU, while it would also see him face a further challenge for minutes on the pitch with Wallaby ace Kurtley Beale appearing likely to join Racing in the summer. 

While a third-year in Paris seems set to be in Zebo’s short-term future, in the long-term it is unknown where he will end up, but admitted while speaking to Off the Ball yesterday that he would only return to Ireland to play for former side Munster

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Super Rugby

French Giants Eying Deal for Beale

Kurtley Beale could be set to leave the Waratahs for Europe this summer according to reports

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(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale looks set to leave the Waratahs for French Top 14 giants Racing 92 a report in the Daily Telegraph claims.

The 31-year-old has been key to the Super Rugby franchise and it would be a major blow to lose a player of his quality ahead of next season. 

However, despite the potential move across to Europe and Racing it would have no effect on his standing in the international set-up as he currently has 92-caps for the Wallabies to his name putting him well ahead of the 60 needed to be selected by an overseas player. 

With new head coach Dave Rennie coming in during the summer to take over from Michael Cheika it is unknown whether or not Beale will remain an integral part of the team. 

He was vital during Australia’s Rugby World Cup campaign last year and with his versatility he will hope that Rennie sees him as an asset to his side. 

Although he is not the only Wallaby that is being reported to leave Super Rugby with Melbourne Rebels pair Matt Philip and Luke Jones also set to depart for France according to Fox Sport, with Pau their likely destination. 

All of these potential moves would be problematic for the Australian-based Super Rugby sides, who are struggling as it is and without star men sticking around the future looks bleak.

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International

Skelton Set for Summer Move from Saracens

Australian second-row ace Will Skelton looks set for a move away from Saracens this summer, but Rugby Australia won’t be happy with his choice of destination according to reports

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(Photo credit GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia appear set to miss out on bringing Will Skelton back to Australia once again with a move to France looking imminent according to reports.

The giant second-row has been a target for Rugby Australia since before last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, but he decided to remain in England with Saracens ruling him out of contention to feature for the Wallabies due to their overseas laws. 

However, they took another shot at getting his signature once Saracens salary cap scandal unfolded, believing it was the perfect opportunity to bring him home

Talks took place with the 27-year-old but reports in France are now claiming that a deal with French Top 14 side La Rochelle will be confirmed shortly. 

It would be another big-money move for the lock, but once more he would be unable to represent his country as he falls well short of the 60-caps needed for an overseas player to be eligible to be called-up. 

Failing to tie-down a star name like Skelton again would be a major blow for Rugby Australia and may cause them to consider altering their current rules around the Giteau Law as they are missing out on being able to select some of their best players because of it.

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