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Big spending Stade Francais raid Italy for Nicotera

By Ian Cameron
Giacomo Nicotera of Italy in action during Italy training session at Payanini Center on January 04, 2024 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Federugby/Federugby via Getty Images)

Stade Français has reportedly secured the recruitment of Italian international hooker Giacomo Nicotera from Treviso, in a significant move to add depth in the position.

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The acquisition, which is yet to be formally announced, is the latest move in an ambitious recruitment drive by the Les Stadistes. 

According to French outlet L’Equipe, the 27-year-old, who has earned 18 caps for Italy and was their first-choice loosehead in the Rugby World Cup, is set to join the Paris-based club, filling the void left by the departing Mickaël Ivaldi. Ivaldi (33) is at the end of his contract with Stade Français and is reportedly in advanced talks with Toulon for his next move.

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Stade Français is also said to be considering the future of their other hookers. Laurent Panis, 30, and the younger Mamoudou Meïté, 21, both have contracts expiring in June 2024. Talks are underway about potentially extending their stay with the club.

Indeed, it was also reported that the Parisians were interested in signing France hooker Peato Mauvaka from Toulouse, despite the fact that he is secured until 2026. They were also reportedly sniffing around All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor, who is currently taking up a “non-playing sabbatical” which will see him miss the majority of Crusaders’ 2024 Super Rugby season.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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