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Carl Fearns secures third-tier deal in France to prolong his career

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

One-time England prospect Carl Fearns has secured a deal to prolong his career back in France following his end-of-season release by Newcastle. The uncapped 34-year-old back row, who toured South Africa under Stuart Lancaster in 2012, initially moved across the Channel in 2015 where he helped to establish Lyon as a Top 14 club before heading back to England in 2021 following a season at second-tier Rouen.

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He is now exploring life in the French third tier following an agreement on a one-year deal to join Carcassonne. They were relegated at the end of last season following their 15th-place finish in the 16-team Pro D2 and Fearns is the 22nd arrival at a club that reportedly had 36 off-season departures.

Carcassonne open their new Nationale campaign on August 26 away to Bressane and Fears has joined with immediate effect following a summer where his ticking-over activities included training recently with Consett, the centenary-celebrating Regional 2 North club in the English grassroots.

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England World Cup kit

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England World Cup kit

Fearns tweeted on July 11: “Went for a run (jog) about with the Consett RFC lads tonight. Great group of lads. Good luck for the season.”

Six days later, he was retweeting the announcement by Carcassonne that he had signed with them for the 2023/24 season in France. A club statement on Monday read: “Very experienced Carl Fearns, a back row of 34 years, arrives straight from Newcastle and commits one year to Carcassonne.

“Born in Liverpool, Carl arrived in France in 2015 where he joined LOU rugby until 2020 and then Rouen Normandie Rugby during the 2020/2021 season. A Newcastle Falcons player since 2021, with whom he played 29 games, Carl will bring all his power and experience to the Yellow & Black group. Welcome Carl!”

Fearns originally made his Premiership breakthrough at Sale in 2008, moving on to Bath in 2011 where his final appearance for them came off the bench in their 2015 Premiership final loss to Saracens at Twickenham.

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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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