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Toulon gig for Stevens?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 16 Jun 2015 at 08:49
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Various news sources, including the generally reputable Sydney Morning Herald, have run a story this morning relating to three new big name signings by French giants RC Toulon. While the names of Duane Vermeulen and Paul O’Connell are likely to attract most attention amongst South African and Irish fans respectively, it’s the third name on the list that’s sure to get the tongues wagging here.

English prop Matt Stevens, currently in the midst of a rather unsuccessful stint at the Sharks, is said to have signed a two-year deal with the reigning European Rugby Championship title-holders.

While the move has not been confirmed by the Sharks (and would need to be, since according to my information Stevens still has a year and some change left on his Sharks contract) it has been widely rumoured for some time, with the retirement of All Black Carl Hayman opening up a spot at tighthead prop on Toulon’s roster. The prospect of another club being prepared to take Stevens – who has failed to impress – off their hands would surely be something that the Sharks would welcome with open arms, so I don’t foresee any complications, assuming the interest from both club and player is genuine.

Should Stevens move on, though, the Sharks face a looming crisis at tight head prop ahead of next year’s Super Rugby competition. Jannie du Plessis has already been confirmed as leaving, while Lourens Adriaanse, who is out of contract after the Currie Cup, is being targeted by a different French club, Agen. And if we learned anything from yesterday’s Junior Springbok debacle, it’s that Thomas du Toit is a long way from the finished product as a tighthead and will definitely need a lot more time (and careful nurturing) before he’s ready to wear the number 3 jersey at senior level.

That leaves only the untested Marne Coetzee as an immediate option at 3, while Free State Vodacom Cup prop Louwrens Strydom (also untried beyond that level) was spotted training with the side on a trial basis last week.


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