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Toulon’s Best XV Of The Mourad Boudjellal Era

Toulon v Saracens - Heineken Cup Final

When it comes to paying outlandish salaries to southern hemisphere stars whose careers are coming toward a close, nobody does it with as much gusto than Toulon.

Take Ma’a Nonu for example, a player who dominated in midfield for the All Blacks, but didn’t reach those heights consistently while playing with either the Hurricanes, Blues or Highlanders. This though didn’t put Mourad Boudjellal off when he offered the centre a salary worth €600,000 per annum.

Nonu was not a once off either, Ayumu Goromaru has struggled to make any kind of impression since moving to the Stade Mayol, while Quade Cooper only enjoyed a brief stint at the club last season. However, while some superstar players failed to live up to their price tag, others such as Johnny Wilkinson, Carl Hayman and Matt Giteau became iconic figures at Toulon.

For every club, there is a degree of risk associated with any form of transfer activity. Some players find it easy to adapt to new surroundings, others don’t, at times the pressure associated with high profile transfers weighs down individuals who find it difficult to perform as a result.

However, in Toulon’s case, they have always been open to accusations of employing mercenaries as a result of overpaying for ageing southern hemisphere stars. Indeed, before they went on to lift three consecutive European Cups, cartoonists would have had an easy job characterising the Stade Mayol as a retirement home.

Notwithstanding their current plight, Boudjellal’s strategy paid dividends, as Toulon dominated French and European rugby between 2012/15. During that time fans got to see some of the biggest names in the game ply their trade at a club that was on the verge of bankruptcy prior to the arrival of the comic book magnate.

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[tie_slide]1. Gethin Jenkins (21 Appearances between 2012-2013)

Toulon v Leicester Tigers - Heineken Cup Quarter Final

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[tie_slide]2. Guilhem Guirado (22 appearances since joining in 2014)

RC Toulon v Wasps - European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter Final

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[tie_slide]3. Carl Hayman (145 appearances between 2010-2015)

Toulon v Glasgow Warriors - Heineken Cup

 

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[tie_slide]4. Bakkies Botha (73 appearances between 2011-2015)

Toulon v Saracens - Heineken Cup Final

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[tie_slide]5. Victor Matfield (15 appearances between 2007-08)

during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Bronze Final match between South Africa and Argentina at the Olympic Stadium on October 30, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.

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[tie_slide]6. Juan Smith (44 appearances since joining the club in 2013)

ASM Clermont Auvergne v RC Toulon - European Rugby Champions Cup Final

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[tie_slide]7. George Smith (30 appearances between 2010-11)

Perpignan v Toulon - Heineken Cup Quarter Final

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[tie_slide]8. Steffon Armitage (121 appearances between 2011-2016)

BATH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Steffon Armitage of RC Toulon scores a try during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Bath Rugby and RC Toulon at Recreation Ground on January 23, 2016 in Bath, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images).

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[tie_slide]9. George Gregan (28 appearances between 2007-08)

Toulon Rugby Feature

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[tie_slide]10. Jonny Wilkinson (141 appearances between 2009-2014)

CARDIFF, WALES - MAY 24: Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon looks on during the Heineken Cup Final between Toulon and Saracens at the Millennium Stadium on May 24, 2014 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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[tie_slide]11. Bryan Habana (43 appearances since joining in 2013)

ASM Clermont Auvergne v RC Toulon - European Rugby Champions Cup Final

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[tie_slide]12. Matt Giteau (113 appearances since joining the club in 2011)

ASM Clermont Auvergne v RC Toulon - European Rugby Champions Cup Final

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[tie_slide]13. Tana Umaga (7 appearances in 2006, player/coach between 2008-10)

Toulon v Cardiff Blues - Amlin Challenge Cup Final

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[tie_slide]14. Drew Mitchell (51 appearances since joining the club in 2013)

ASM Clermont Auvergne v RC Toulon - European Rugby Champions Cup Final

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[tie_slide]15. Leigh Halfpenny (32 appearances since joining the club in 2014)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Leigh Halfpenny of Toulon kicks a penalty during the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between ASM Clermont Auvergne and RC Toulon at Twickenham Stadium on May 2, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

In this week’s edition of The Oval Office Podcast, we speak to the Pro12 Communications Director Adam Redmond, who outlines how the league will evolve in the coming seasons.

https://soundcloud.com/punditarenarugby/we-speak-to-the-pro12-communications-director-adam-redmond-and-cover-all-the-recent-rugby-action

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.