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Fissler Confidential: Deal lined up for Willis as Bok eyes Prem move

Jack Willis of Toulouse after the Investec Champions Cup Pool 2 Round 3 match between Ulster and Toulouse at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Toulouse would like openside Jack Willis to slam the door shut on talk of a return to the Premiership by putting pen to paper on a new long-term contract to stay in the Pink City.

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Willis, 27, is under contract until 2026, but Les Rouge et Noir are keen to tie him down even longer after he returned from the neck injury that forced him out of England’s Rugby Cup campaign after one game.

A hero in the south of France, he admitted that a return to the Gallagher Premiership, where his younger brother Tom is at Saracens, was a long way down his list of priorities after helping secure Toulouse a Top 14 and Investec Champions Cup.

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Bristol Bears and Harlequins have both sent a delegation to the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa to see if there are any undiscovered gems on display they can potentially snap up for a song.

The Bears, in particular, have decided to move away from the Galácticos business model and have started to look at players they can sign as inexpensive youngsters and add plenty of value over the next few seasons.

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The word reaching Fissler Confidential Towers is that they are also using the opportunity to meet with players’ agents based in the Southern Hemisphere to discuss players coming off contract at the end of next season.

Former Gloucester fly-half Lloyd Evans will report for pre-season training with the Dragons on Monday morning after signing a one-year deal after being shown the door by the Cherry and Whites earlier in the week.

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Evans, 28, made close to 100 appearances for Gloucester and was the last line of defence in the Premiership Cup Final victory over Leicester Tigers was allowed to leave with George Skivington being well-stocked in both positions.

He was quickly snapped up by the Dragons, who were looking for another Welsh-qualified fly-half, and Gloucester-born Evans qualifies through his father Huw, a former Scarlets chairman.

Stormers hooker Joseph Dweba has told Sale Sharks that he is open to joining them next summer just days after it was revealed that he turned down a £45,000 a year pay increase to see out the last year of his contract.

The Stormers were willing to rip up the final year of his deal to let him move to the Premiership, but Dweba exasperated everyone when he said that he wanted to stay in Cape Town despite falling down the Springboks’ pecking order.

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Fissler Confidential understands that Bristol Bears asked about him for a 2025 move but seem to have now gone cold on a deal, preferring to look at other options after learning of his salary expectations.

Bordeaux tight-head Carlu Sadie, who hails from Bellville, Cape Town, could be set for his third move in as many years despite having another year left to run on his contract with the Top 14 finalists.

The former South Africa under-20 international made 24 appearances for Bordeaux last season after a move from The Sharks and has also played for the Stormers, the Lions and Stade Francais.

Sadie, 27, has suitors from the United Rugby Championship back home in South Africa, and it is understood that another club has expressed an interest in keeping him in France as well.

Welsh clubs are circling Bristol Bears inside centre James Williams after Wales coach Warren Gatland identified him as a player he would like to have in his international set-up.

Williams was one of nine Bears handed a new deal in April and made 25 appearances, scoring four tries in his most successful season in the top flight, which saw him play for the Barbarians against Samoa last summer.

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Gatland has watched the Championship’s leading points scorer when he joined The Bears two years ago, who has had three spells with Hartpury and also played for Birmingham Moseley, Worcester Warriors, and Sale Sharks several times.

Saracens have launched a hunt for an injury replacement inside centre after new signing Sam Spink was injured during his last appearance in Super Rugby for the Western Force.

The former Wasps and England U20 international, 24, was unveiled as Saracens fifth new signing ahead of next season after catching the eye in his two seasons Down Under.

But it would appear that he will have to wait to wow Premiership crowds after getting hurt after just two minutes of his last appearance against the Brumbies at the start of June.

Meanwhile, England under-18 full-back Finn Newton, who can also play on the wing, has left Saracens to join Top 14 outfit Toulon.

Gloucester, who finished ninth in the Premiership last season, could be fighting a losing battle to stop head of performance Dan Tobin from heading back across the Irish Sea to reunite with David Humphreys.

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The former Ireland 400-metre sprinter was head of fitness at Leinster for a decade before moving to the West Country under Humphreys in 2016, and they have remained close ever since.

Humphreys is now the performance director for the Irish Rugby Union after spending a year as the director of cricket operations for the England cricket team has targeted Tobin to beef up his department in Dublin.

Former Leicester Tigers boss Dan McKellar hasn’t let his feet settle under his new desk at the Waratahs and is already locked in talks with players as he looks to add some much-needed strength to his squad next season.

He has spoken to Wallaby tighthead Taniela Tupou, a target Leinster and Montpellier for a move to Europe, about switching to Sydney for the final year of his Rugby Australia contract after the Melbourne Rebels went bust.

He is also reportedly keen to make a last attempt to prevent backrowers former Northampton Saints ace Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Rob Leota from joining the Queensland Reds as the scramble to sign Rebels continues.

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