Following a number of fallow seasons at the Stade Mayol, Mourad Boudjellal appears to be conducting a clear out at Toulon, as the club prepares to welcome a number of new signings this summer.
Already reported to be leaving Toulon are Matt Giteau, Juan Smith, Drew Mitchell, Maxime Mermoz, and Leigh Halfpenny, as Mourad Boudjellal attempts to rebuild the club before attempting to challenge Saracens’ dominance of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
To that end, Toulon have already confirmed the capture of Chris Ashton, Hugo Bonneval, Luke McAlister, Filipo Nakosi and Semi Radradra. In addition, according to L’equipe, the three-time European Champions are also close to signing Facundo Isa ahead of next season.
To the horror of many non-Toulon fans, Boudjellal isn’t finished yet either, having previously promised to make eight additions to his squad before the 2017/18 season kicks off.
Although such transfer activity would on paper put Toulon in a position to challenge for major honours, they must also adhere to the Top 14’s salary cap regulations, thus ensuring the departure of many star names.
The latest player said to be edging toward the exit door is James O’Connor, who told the Herald Sun that he is considering offers from “Toulon, Japan and Australia”.
At 26 years of age, a more mature O’Conner certainly has a lot to offer the Wallabies as the 2019 World Cup draws ever closer. However, given his pedigree and ability to play in any number of positions, the 44 times capped Australian international will certainly draw interest from around the rugby world.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s edition of The Oval Office podcast, we talk about the Irish back row with Niall Ronan and get the Scottish perspective from The Scrum Magazine’s David Arnott.