The All Blacks’ imminent post-World Cup exodus is one step closer to coming to fruition, with 106-test prop Owen Franks and 75-test lock Brodie Retallick set to ink a post-World Cup deals in England, according to reports out of Europe.
The Rugby Paper is reporting that Retallick has been offered a £1m-per-season deal to join Premiership side Sale for after the World Cup in a deal which would make the 2014 World Rugby Player of the Year among the highest-paid players on the planet.
It is believed that the 27-year-old is in ‘advanced discussion’ to join the Sharks, where he would join Bristol outside back and former New Zealand teammate Charles Piutau as the biggest earners in the game.
The report suggested that the possibility of Retallick appearing at the 2023 World Cup is not out of the question, as the deal would be considered a sabbatical-type agreement whereby he would be able to return to New Zealand in time for the tournament.
Meanwhile, Midi Olympique is reporting that 31-year-old Franks has been weighing up offers from Northampton and French glamour club Toulon – who have recently acquired the services of Nehe Milner-Skudder – and is believed to have signed a two-year deal with the Saints, with an option to sign on for a third season.
Franks would link up with brother Ben, who played 47 tests for the All Blacks between 2010 and 2015, former Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, who took over the coaching duties of the Saints at the conclusion of last year’s Super Rugby campaign, and one-test All Black Matt Proctor, who signed for the club last month.
Retallick and Franks will join a growing contingent of past and present All Blacks plying their trade in England’s top division, with the likes of Lima Sopoaga, Malakai Fekitoa, Steven Luatua, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Piutau and Proctor all moving to the Premiership in recent seasons.
Franks also joins a list of current All Blacks who have rejected offers to play in the Top 14 after the World Cup, with Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett, Kieran Read and Ryan Crotty among those to have turned down big-money contracts.
He told Fairfax last November that was yet to make a decision as to whether he would stay in New Zealand or go abroad after the World Cup in Japan.
“I will keep both options alive, I am in no rush – just see how the season plays out next year,” the two-time World Cup winner said at the time.
Midi Olympique is also reporting that All Blacks flyer Waisake Naholo is close to sealing an overseas move after the World Cup, with English clubs London Irish and Wasps the leading candidates for the 27-year-old’s signature.
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