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Fissler Confidential: Premiership DoR fears for his future

By Neil Fissler
Gloucester Rugby's Ruan Ackermann is tackled by Hollywoodbet Sharks' Siya Masuku during the EPCR Challenge Cup Final match between Gloucester Rugby and Hollywoodbets Sharks at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 24, 2024 in London, England.(Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ruan Ackermann could be set to leave Premiership strugglers Gloucester despite the back-row only committing his future and signing a new contract with the Cherry and White’s in February.

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Ackermann, 28, has been playing for Gloucester since leaving the Lions in his native South Africa in 2017 and had been touted for a return home before signing the new deal but has since been attracting interest from Japan.

His father Johan, who faces an uncertain future, has just led Urayasu D-Rocks to the promotion back to Japan’s top flight and could be in the running if he stays while Yokohama Canon Eagles are also in the market for a back row.

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The Bulls are in advanced talks to re-sign lock Sintu Manjezi, who is set to leave Glasgow Warriors when his contract runs out at the end of next month.

East London-born Manjezi, 29, played for the Southern Kings and Cheetahs before joining The Bulls and Blue Bulls and was part of their squad that won the Currie Cup in 2021.

Manjezi, who stands at 6’6”, can also play as a blindside flanker, has suffered a string of injury problems since moving to Scotstoun but has made 12 appearances since returning from a serious knee injury in November.

Wallaby lock Will Skelton is close to reaching an agreement to extend his stay with Top 14 big guns LA Rochelle, where he has made his home for the last four years.

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Skelton, 32, has made 16 appearances this season and helped Ronan O’Gara’s side win back-to-back Champions Cup titles in 2022 and 2023 and was a finalist in his first season with the club in 2021.

Will Skelton Premiership
Will Skelton of La Rochelle arrives before the Investec Champions Cup Pool 4 Round 1 match between La Rochelle and Leinster at Stade Marcel Deflandre in La Rochelle, France. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The former Wallabies skipper also won a Champions Cup with Saracens in 2017 and 2019 and spent four years in North London before leaving after they were relegated to the Championship after the salary cap scandal.

A Premiership Director of Rugby has been fighting for his job, and his fears intensified after a drunken rant from a top executive at his club at the Premiership Awards in London this week.

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Whispers are reaching Fissler Confidential Towers that the executive had enjoyed an evening of free alcohol before giving their thoughts on their club’s boss to opposite numbers at rival clubs.

The coach concerned has been on the ropes for weeks, but the club would be forced to splash out cash it can ill afford to make a substantial payout for the remaining years on the contract.

Biarritz could offload most, if not all, of their foreign legion after a disappointing season saw them finish 14th in the Pro D2 table, five points ahead of Rouen, who finished bottom of the table.

The Basque Country outfit who have just appointed Stade Francais skills coach Boris Bouhraoua as their new boss have informed players that they will no longer be paying image rights as they look to tighten their belts.

It means that former Premiership stars Jonathan Joseph, Zach Kibirige, Billy Searle, Alfie Petch, and Charlie Matthews could all become surplus to requirements and forced to look for alternative employment for next season.

Rugby Australia holds talks with Melbourne Rebels players about their future as the vultures continue to circle, looking to pick over the bones of the troubled Super Rugby franchise.

Officials, including Rugby Australia’s new director of high performance, Peter Horne, held individual meetings with players, during which they were asked where they would prefer to live and work.

A Financial Rescue Plan for The Rebels is on the table, but it is still unclear if The Rebels will get their license back, leaving players who are out of contract at the end of this year and still under contract worrying about their futures.

Premiership scouts have been monitoring Georgian props Dato Abudelishvili and Bachuki Tchumbadze, even though both players will struggle to get a work permit to play in the United Kingdom.

Loosehead Abudelishvili, 23, and his fellow front rower Bachuki Tchumbadze, 22, both play for the Black Lions and have been tipped to follow in the footsteps of Nika Abuladze who has been playing for Exeter Chiefs.

But they are short of the required number of caps for a work permit, and Richard Cockerill is likely to play his strongest possible side for a tough run of summer fixtures against Fiji, Japan and Australia, which won’t help the pair.

Stade Francais look set to end their search for a new fly-half by snapping up French international Louis Carbonel despite him having another year left to run on his contract with relegation-threatened Montpellier.

Stade, who have lost Joris Segonds to Bayonne when his contract runs out this summer, are in discussions with Montpellier about Carbonel, who had been attracting interest from his former club Toulon.

Carbonel has scored 186 points in 25 appearances for Montpellier, won the last of his six French caps against Australia in July 2021, and has fallen down the pecking order, hopes a move will revive his international ambitions.

The Scarlets have raided Nottingham to land Welsh-qualified full-back Ellis Mee, who has just been named fans’ and Players’ Player of the Year at the Championship side.

Mee, 20, who can play full-back or wing is Dwayne Peel’s third new signing for next season following on from the arrivals of Toyota Cheetahs hooker Marnus van der Merwe and Exeter Chiefs prop Alec Hepburn.

Mee has been combining his rugby career with studies at Nottingham Trent University and only joined Nottingham at the start of the season and quickly caught the eye of scouts from the Premiership and United Rugby Championship.

South African tighthead Keynan Knox is off to play in France next season after completing a move to CS Bourgoin-Jallieu following seven years in Ireland with Munster.

Munster announced in January that Knox, who was spotted playing a schools game by then-CEO Garrett Fitzgerald, has found his chances limited and would be leaving when his contract runs out this summer.

He has opted to move to Bourgoin, who play in the third-tier Nationale.

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