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End is nigh for banned Latu at Stade after club owner's outburst

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Ex-Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu is set to leave Stade Francais after a suspension for his latest red card reportedly prompted a stinging outburst from club owner Hans-Peter Wild. Stade were beaten 22-9 at home in last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup first leg round of 16 match against Parisian rivals Racing 92.  

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It was a limited performance not helped by Latu getting sent off for a dangerous tackle on Baptiste Chouzenoux with 13 minutes remaining. It was his second red card in successive European matches, as he was also sent off last January versus Connacht. 

Whereas that incident where he used abusive language towards referee Wayne Barnes only resulted in a one-match ban, his latest sending off resulted in a far heftier eleven-game ban that has ruled him out of the remainder of the Stade Francais season in Europe and the Top 14. 

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This dismissal apparently ignited a rant last Monday from Stade Francais owner Wild which suggested that Latu had played his final match for the club after three season in Paris. The 29-year-old moved to France after making the last of his 19 Test appearances for Australia in their 2019 World Cup quarter-final defeat to England in Oita. 

His discipline at Stade Francais has been an issue, Latu accumulating two red and six yellow cards this season, and L’Equipe have reported that the Australian forward is now unlikely to represent the club again. The French sports newspaper alleged that Wild banged his fist on the table in front of staff and was visibly annoyed by his club’s poor performance in the Parisian derby.

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“We have a president [Wild himself] who can offer a lot of money, but who can also lose a lot without finding yourselves backed up against the wall,” said the owner.” Whether we finish fourth, sixth, tenth or even 14th, it does not affect anyone directly. Some players are paid dearly, but they don’t behave like professionals. I don’t like losing money. I had promised to spend €100million for the club. It’s already the case and the results are not up to par.”

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Wild, who also confirmed the imminent arrival of Morgan Parra in Paris from Clermont to coach next season, didn’t mince his words about Latu. “Latu is a problem,” he reportedly said. “Above all, Latu has an extra-sports problem with alcohol. You have to recognise it, otherwise you will never solve the problem.

“He spends more time off the pitch. Moreover, vis-a-vis young people, it’s not a good example. He needs to heal, reorganise his life. We can help him but as with any addiction, Latu is like an elephant in your living room. To solve the problem, you have to take out the elephant and not take out the broken objects.”

The likely exit of Latu and fellow hooker Lucas da Silva, who is going to Brive, would be offset by the probable arrivals of Mickael Ivaldi from Lyon and Lucas Peyresblanques from Biarritz.

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