Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Fissler Confidential: Elton Jantjies back in play, Pat Lam exit

By Neil Fissler
Elton Jantjies during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Champions Tour on November 07, 2019 in Gauteng, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Lions could move to sign Elton Jantjies for a third time after WADA suspended the accreditation of the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein. This would bring into question the positive test result that saw him handed a four-year ban from the sport.


The 33-year-old 2019 World Cup winner, capped 46 times by the Springboks, tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. His last club was Agen in France. He is facing the end of his career unless he can get his ban overturned.

The suspension of the South African Doping Control Laboratory for multiple non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories could aid an appeal. The Lions were keen before his ban, and they need to replace Sharks-bound Jordan Hendrikse.

Video Spacer

‘Ireland’s true test will come in July’ – Boks Office | RPTV

The Boks Office crew dispel the notion that Ireland are the best team in the world right now. Watch the full show exclusively on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Video Spacer

‘Ireland’s true test will come in July’ – Boks Office | RPTV

The Boks Office crew dispel the notion that Ireland are the best team in the world right now. Watch the full show exclusively on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Tokyo Sungoliath are keen on luring NRL star Joey Manu to switch codes when his contract with the Sydney Roosters, where he won two Grand Finals, runs out later in the year.

The Roosters have resigned themselves to losing the 27-year-old Kiwi, who could earn over double the maximum £410,000 that they are able to offer him to stay next season if he moves to Japan’s Top League.

Manu counts Japan boss Eddie Jones among his admirers, who has acted as a consultant to Sungoliath and is believed to have urged them to sign the star full-back who had been linked with France, where clubs had taken a close look.

Exeter Chiefs have made a move for Ealing Trailfinders loosehead prop Will Goodrick-Clarke as Rob Baxter moves to replace newly capped Scotland international Alec Hepburn, who is set to leave Sandy Park when his contract runs out this summer.


Goodrick-Clarke, 28, who played for Richmond and was named in the 2019 Championship Dream Team, joined Ealing at the start of the season when London Irish went out of business. He is an ideal replacement for Hepburn, who could return to Australia.

He was named in several England training squads under Eddie Jones before playing in a non-capped fixture against the Barbarians and played in the Exiles Premiership Cup final defeat to Worcester Warriors in 2022.

Northampton Saints are eyeing a swoop on Premiership rivals Saracens as they look to strengthen their front row with a move for former England under-20 international loosehead prop Tom West.

West, 28, who hails from Diss, Norfolk, joined Saracens at the start of the season on a one-year contract from Leicester Tigers, whom he joined in January 2023 after being made redundant when Wasps went out of business.


He has played 11 games for Saracens this season, and one of his five starts came in a defeat to Saints in December and he has had talks with Franklins Gardens officials about returning to the East Midlands.

Montpellier are in advanced talks to sign former Springbok fly-half Curwin Bosch with Sharks bosses expecting to see him play in France next season despite having another couple of seasons left on his contract.

Bosch, 28, who has come close to leaving for Premiership big spenders in the past, is now expected to give the green light to the move, which he hopes will kick start his once-promising career.

The Sharks are well stocked in his department, with Jordan Hendrikse joining from the Lions. They also have the highly rated Siya Masuku on the books after he moved from the Cheetahs last summer.

Gloucester’s demands of an £850,000 transfer fee before allowing Zach Mercer to return to France appears to be having the desired effect with several clubs having second thoughts about trying to sign him.

Toulon were said to be among the clubs interested in signing Mercer who has not had a look in under Steve Borthwick after being persuaded by former England boss Eddie Jones to ditch Montpellier and return to the Premiership.

As you would expect, Mercer has distanced himself from talk of a move, and Top 14 clubs have been looking, but only if Gloucester get more realistic with their demands to release him.

Premiership giants Saracens and Exeter Chiefs are both interested in signing Ealing Trailfinders inside centre Reuben Bird-Tulloch, who came through Sarries academy system before joining Northampton Saints in 2019.

Cambridge-born Bird-Tulloch, 25, who captained England at both Under-16 and Under-17 levels, joined the Saracens academy when he was 13. He progressed into the first-team squad before leaving for Franklins Gardens.

He has caught the eye of several Premiership clubs this season and could move on at the end of the season, with Saracens and Exeter battling it out in pole position to sign him.

Bristol Bears are considering making a change to their coaching staff at the end of the season after a disappointing Premiership campaign.

We have been told that Bears boss Pat Lam is still under pressure following another season of underperforming and that feelers have already been put out for a change of direction.

He bought himself more time with a win over West Country rivals Bath in their last Premiership game at the end of January, but it is only likely to be a stay of execution.

Newcastle Falcons boss Steve Diamond is set to raid Sale Sharks, another of his former clubs, for outside centre Connor Doherty as he looks to strengthen his Premiership basement dwellers for next season.

Diamond has already signed winger Alex Hearle from Gloucester for next season. He coached Hearle during his spell in charge of Worcester Warriors and is now switching his attention towards Doherty.

The Manchester-born former England under-20 international, 23, has made six appearances for The Sharks this season and was given his debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2017 by Diamond, who is also looking at flanker Aaron Hinkley.



Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE Vincent Koch: 'Never think you’re the big dog because they fall the hardest' Vincent Koch: 'Never think you’re the big dog because they fall the hardest'