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3 Rugby Stars Toulon Has Its Sights On

Toulon is looking to spend a little money this season, but which players are on their shopping list?

French rugby giant Toulon has become the Real Madrid of the rugby world – turning a once-second-division side into a star-studded spectacle, packed full of international stars including the likes of Bryan Habana, Matt Giteau, Bakkies Botha, Mathieu Bastareau, Drew Mitchell, Leigh Halfpenny, and Juan Smith, to name a few. But the dual-championship winners have earmarked some more world-class players to join their cause.

Quade Cooper

The Wallabies and Queensland Reds may have to start planning for life after Quade Cooper, with the flyhalf set to sign a two-year deal with Toulon.

Cooper had been in talks with the Top 14 glamour club and reportedly liked what he saw during a visit to France this past week. French paper L’Equipe reported that the deal was done, however Fairfax Media understands that the contract has not been finalised yet but is likely to happen soon.

The fabled member of the 2011 Super Rugby championship side will obviously attract a large crowd at the club and could provide the arena for him to exercise his more flamboyant style of play.

Ma’a Nonu

Ma’a Nonu’s post World Cup departure to France appears to have been confirmed, but who he will join is still in question – although, Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has made it very clear that he wants the All Blacks midfielder.

With the likes of Bastareaud already in the centre, the pairing of Nonu with the big French No. 13 could prove a potent combination. Ma’a Nonu’s skill-set is unrivaled, and he would be a major asset for any club.

Duane Vermeulen

Another player the outspoken Boudjellal has targetted is Springbok no. 8 Duane Vermeulen.

According to reports earlier this year, the Stormers hardman has been offered a record-setting deal that would see the loose-forward joining the Top 14, and his fetching and ball-carrying skills would be greatly welcomed.

Vermeulen enjoyed a wonderful 2014 season with the Springboks; heroic efforts in two Rugby Championship classics with the All Blacks leading to a nomination for the World Rugby Player of the Year Award.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. james

    April 22, 2015 at 08:50

    It’s a good call for Nonu to go. He’ll make a lot of money for retirement.

    Vermrules on the other hand should stay. We need him in the super 15 and the curry cup. He’s a quality player, would be a loss for South African rugby

    • Jeremy Proome

      April 22, 2015 at 12:43

      Ya, Nonu is hitting his 30s so a move North would be the right choice. He’s already won a World Cup and is looking likely to win a Super Rugby title with the Hurricanes this year. So it could be a very fruitful time for him.

      Vermeulen is also a great asset to SA rugby, but he is 29 this year, so a move for him post-World Cup would also make sense.

  2. Eben Hattingh

    April 22, 2015 at 19:17

    It would take 2 boat loads of money to have Duane move away from the WP/Stormers franchise, but I reckon it would be a good call for him as he certainly won’t be homesick as I am sure Bakkies makes good biltong and braai’s probably every day. I don’t however see him leaving in the unless we have a terrible RWC showing in England. Turning 29 in July he probably needs to ask himself what is the chances of capturing that illusive Super Rugby crown with the Stormers and will he feature in another RWC? Either way Duane will be a huge miss for SA rugby, he is a giant among men.

  3. james

    April 23, 2015 at 17:16

    Matfield should go. His time playing for SA is up, he should cash in for one last season. He’s just taking up space in the squad. Don’t get me wrong he is an amazing player but we really need to start thinking for the long run… in saying this he’ll most likely be captain for the world cup.

    • Jeremy Proome

      April 24, 2015 at 13:53

      Agreed, I don’t think Matfield is performing like he used to. He served his time and was a great player for SA, but he lacks the impact off and with the ball as someone like Pieter-Steph du Toit or Etzebeth. Even the young Lions lock Franco Mostert is looking to be a contender for a green jersey soon.

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