France stalwart Mathieu Bastareaud could be set for a shock loan spell in the new American league. The Toulon midfielder had been in negotiations since January about a possible dalliance with Sharks, the Durban-based Super Rugby franchise.
However, French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique are now reporting a completely different move away from the Top 14 is in the pipeline. The 30-year-old again asked a few weeks ago would it be possible to have a spell away from Toulon following this year’s World Cup in Japan.
That desire has now led to an alleged meeting between Mourad Boudjellal and Pierre Arnald, general manager of Rugby United New York. The player and his agent were also reportedly present at this rendezvous in Toulon.
Arnald, the former Stade Francais employee, is said to have been fielding calls from numerous French internationals in the last while.
Bastareaud is now the latest under consideration and his willingness to take a hefty pay cut in order to sample the Big Apple experience has Rugby United very interested.
— Midi Olympique (@midi_olympique) April 14, 2019
New York would be willing to welcome him from December 1, 2019, until the end of June 2020 before he would then return to Toulon. Club coach Patrice Collazo and owner Boudjellal are not opposed to their player’s desire to temporarily leave.
Boudjellal has only ever set a couple of conditions in order to facilitate Bastareaud’s desire for a change of scenery: there would be no move to England nor to a club that Toulon could potentially face in the Champions Cup.
In the past, Thierry Lacroix and Olivier Roumat (both 1995-1996), Frederic Michalak (2008 and 2012) and Clement Poitrenaud (2017) had stints in Durban. However, his now touted possible arrival in New York would be a massive fillip for the profile of the fledgling American league.
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