A week is a long time in the top 14, whether it’s major signings announced, disciplinary action taken or injuries updated, the league never stops. Here we look at some of the biggest developments in the league over the past week.
Racing 92 just before Splash signing
The Parisians have been in the news a lot lately, mostly for off-field developments rather than their on-field exploits. Beginning with the devastating health-related retirement of star center Virimi Vakatawa, whose career was cruelly cut short by a heart condition. Then there was the signing of former England aviator Christian Wade, who has joined the club after an impressive performance for Racing’s team of 7. In an interesting turn of events, the man who gave Wade his only England cap appears to become his new head coach should he stay at the club next season. Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster is reported to be heading to Paris as Racing’s next head coach in a big money move. If reports are correct, Lancaster, who has enjoyed a tremendously successful run with the Irish giants, would become head coach for the first time since leaving England.
La Rochelle rugby director suspended
La Rochelle enter the fourth round as the last undefeated team, albeit without their head coach Ronan O’Gara. Considered one of the hottest coaching items in world football, O’Gara’s suspension comes after his side’s 23-20 win over Lyon in round one. Despite the win, O’Gara got into an altercation with a match official. According to top 14 organizers LNR, O’Gara’s actions were “the higher rung of the scale”. As such, he has been handed a six-week ban on the touchline, meaning he will not be involved with his side on matchdays for the next six games.” The LNR statement went on to explain why the penalty was so severe: ” After considering the aggravating circumstances (his disciplinary record), the sentence was increased by two weeks. Taking into account the mitigating circumstances (admission of guilt, behavior before and during the hearing), the sanction was reduced by two weeks Otherwise, an outstanding coaching career so far for the former legend from Munster and Ireland.
ASM Clermont on the hunt for the World Cup winner Springbok
The currently best prostitute in the world, Malcolm Marx with 50 test caps and World Cup winner, would be at the top of the wish list of almost every club. Marx, who is out of contract at the end of the 2023 season, is rumored to be on his way to the top 14. According to the French publication Midi Olympique Marx, the main goal has become a leading top 14 club. At the moment, ASM Clermont is reported to be leading the Marx signature sweepstakes as they have made signing a world class hooker a priority. At twenty-seven, Marx is just entering his prime and is expected to play a key role for the Boks at 2023 in France. It now seems that his trip to France in 2023 will be longer than originally planned.
A BIG contribution from Malcolm Marx this weekend to get the Boks across the line in Buenos Aires 😤
– MTN Rugby (@MTN_Rugby) September 21, 2022
All Black Superstar is set to enter the top 14 in 2023
All Blacks playmaker extraordinaire Beauden Barrett is reportedly close to signing a deal that will see him play in the top 14 from next season. Barrett, who is currently under contract with New Zealand Rugby Union until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, will follow in the footsteps of his All-Black legend Dan Carter and join Racing 92. The Paris club are reportedly leading the clubhouse to land Barrett’s signature as well as that of France international Matthieu Jalibert. Several other high-profile All Blacks are out of contract after the World Championship, including Barrett’s longtime halfback partner Aaron Smith, tighthead prop Nepo Laulala, legendary second row duo Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, and current acting flyhalf Richie Mo’Unga. A mass exodus of the Southern Hemisphere’s best talent is nothing new, but the quality of the players who may leave the All Blacks this time is remarkable.
A beautiful chip from Barrett! 💫
— Stan Sport Rugby (@StanSportRugby) September 15, 2022
The former French head coach faces a prison sentence
Former France head coach and all-around strong rugby player Bernard Laporte faces the advice of French prosecutors this week. Prosecutors have accused Laporte of showing favoritism in awarding France national shirt sponsorship to his close friend Mohed Altrad. The Franco-Syrian billionaire of current top-14 champions Montpellier has also inked a six-year sponsorship deal with the All Blacks. As the trial draws to a close, prosecutors have said they are seeking a three-year sentence for Laporte, one of which will be behind bars with a two-year suspended sentence. Prosecutors have turned their attention to Altrad and suggested the same sentence be imposed on the billionaire. A focus in this case was the two men’s friendship and business relationships over the course of the year. Most notable among these deals was the signing of a €1.8 million deal that made his eponymous company the first-ever sponsor to appear on France national team kits. The trial itself ended today (Thursday, April 22).nd ), so more information will be available in due course.
Written by Philip Bendon