Backrow John Hardie – who was dumped by Scottish Rugby at the end of last season – could be on the verge of a lucrative deal that would see him move to one of European rugby’s most celebrated sides.
In October of last year Scottish Rugby and Edinburgh suspended Hardie from selection for both club or country, but gave no details on why the 29-year-old is not being considered.
New Zealand-born Hardie was not be picked for the November Tests against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia as a result.
It was widely reported that the suspension came following a club social which got out of hand, with several players enjoying themselves a little too much.
While he returned to play following suspension, he was released by Edinburgh Rugby at the end of the season.
Clermont have made no secret of their desire to sign the backrow, and are eager to avail of his abilities at the breakdown.
According to French website RugbyRama The Top14 giants have said that the deal will go ahead, provided he is fit, which is not a given for the talented New Zealand born openside.
Hardie – who was capped 16 times for Scotland – underwent back surgery and is currently rehabilitating at Clermont, and if successful, Clermont have said they will sign him. Club president Eric De Cromières told RugbyRama that: “The Scottish-Kiwi John Hardie is actually here, right now. He is a player with whom we have been in contact since April.
“Then he had to have his back surgery, which cooled us down a bit. But we continued to follow his trail. His profile interested us, that of a tackler-scraper that we have never hidden seek.
“This should open up new opportunities for us in the rucks sector. John is with us and he is currently working in rehabilitation with our medical department. Our relationship is clear: if he is fit, he will sign. The decision will be made within two to three weeks.”
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