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After landing All Black Clermont turn eyes to Wallaby Hanigan

By Ian Cameron
Ned Hanigan celebrates in Brisbane after the Wallabies notch a rare Bledisloe Cup win against the All Blacks. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

After landing All Blacks No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula, Top 14 heavyweights Clermont Auvergne are turning their attention to signing Wallabies back row Ned Hanigan.

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This weekend it was revealed that France winger Damian Penaud was to set to leave Clermont – after eight years at the club – for Bordeaux Begles; a not inconsiderable blow for The Jaunards.

Not to be undone, head coach Jonno Gibbes has set to turn his attention to adding firepower elsewhere in the squad. As well as Sowakula, Clermont have also signed firey France tighthead Mohamed Haouas from Montpellier and Wallaby hooker Folau Fainga’a from the Brumbies.

Now – according to Midi Olympique – they’re turning their attention to another international: Australia’s Ned Hanigan.

Hanigan has spent 2021 and early 2022 in Japan with Kurita Water Gush. The 6’4, 110kg now looks likely to sign for the French side after the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after featuring for the Waratahs in the upcoming 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Hanigan made his debut for the Wallabies in 2017 and looked like becoming a key member of the team. The U20s star seemed to slip out of the pecking order ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup where he failed to make Michael Cheika’s squad.

The Australia U20s star last played for the Wallabies in 2020 but has made public his desire to pull on the green and gold jersey once again. He’s unlikely to be one of three overseas players allowed under Rugby Australia’s new selection policy that replaced the Giteau Law protocols so he does indeed decide to move to France post-2023 it will almost certainly bring to end any Test aspirations he may still harbour.

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It could also damage his chances of being selected for the tournament this year, with Rugby Australia potentially unwilling to invest playing time in a player that is looking to go overseas unless head coach Dave Rennie finds himself in a pinch in the position.

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