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England lock David Ribbans set to quit Northampton for the Top 14

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

David Ribbans has become the latest England player linked with a move to the Top 14 for the 2023/24 season. Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds have already inked deals that will take them to Montpellier next season, transfers that will make them ineligible for national team selection after the completion of the Rugby World Cup in France.

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Second row Ribbans is now tipped to make that same decision and give up his Test career in favour of a three-year deal to play for Toulon. The South African-born forward came through the ranks at Western Province before joining Northampton in 2016/17 and he went on to make his England debut with a start versus Japan last November after being involved in numerous squads prior to that.

The 27-year-old was capped on two further occasions that month, coming off the bench against New Zealand and his native South Africa, and he is currently one of the 29 players in England camp ahead of this Friday’s announcement of the team to play Italy on Sunday in the Guinness Six Nations.

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However, he will no longer be available to England post the World Cup if a report from France is on the money. “Dave Ribbans has signed a three-year contract with Toulon. He was already in advanced discussions with the RCT,” read a story published on rugbyrama.fr.

“The Northampton player notably participated in the last Autumn Nations Series and has played 10 games with the Saints this season.”

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It was February 2021 when Ribbans explained his England connections and his ambition to be capped by them. “My father’s side they are all English,” said Ribbans at the time to RugbyPass. “My grandfather was born in Enfield and then he moved over. I was born and raised in South Africa but my heritage is English through my grandfather.

“They were super excited (when I was called up to the squad). They know it was a big move for me to move over. I was 21, had never left South Africa before, had never been overseas. It was a big adjustment but I was following my passion, my dream and all of that, and they were really happy.”

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