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Castres president makes bizarre admission after Nakarawa extension

By Josh Raisey
Leone Nakarawa of Castres Olympique appears during warm up prior to the EPCR Challenge Cup match between Castres Olympique and Black Lion at Stade Pierre Fabre on January 13, 2024 in Castres, France. (Photo by Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images)

Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa has signed a one-year contract extension at Top 14 outfit Castres, taking him to 2025, which he has hinted could be the final year of his career.


The mercurial forward joined Castres in 2022 from Toulon with the aim of making Fiji’s squad for the World Cup last year. While those plans did not come to fruition, he has earned himself an extra year at the Stade Pierre-Fabre.

The five-time French champions announced the deal on Thursday, with President Pierre-Yves Revol making a strange confession. Revol said that it was not the club’s plan to grant the 2018 European player of the year a new deal.

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With two homegrown players brought into the squad, it was not planned to keep Nakarawa on. However, Revol admitted that his performances and attitude meant they could not turn down another year.

“The extension of Leone Nakarawa was not planned and we had recruited two JIFF players in the second row,” he said (translated by Google).

“But his performances and his importance in the life of the group led us when he expressed the wish to extend his contract for one more season.

“It was not not possible, despite his age, not to benefit a little longer from the talents of this unique player through his ability to bring the ball to life and ensure the continuity of the game. The OC is very happy to have been able to relaunch the career of this extraordinary player.”


The Fijian has had a storied career, thriving at every club he has represented- Glasgow Warriors, Racing 92, Toulon and Castres. He has not been too far from controversy either, be that a failed move to Ulster or being sacked by Racing 92 after his late return from the 2019 World Cup.

In his pomp, the lock was one of the very best players in the world at the end of his career, but at the age of 35 now, he added that next season may be the final year of his career. He said that he is “very satisfied to be able to end my career in a family club with a collective spirit that I have rarely experienced and where I found a lot of pleasure in playing rugby.”



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Jon 2 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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finn 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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