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Fissler Confidential: Gloucester win tug-of-war as Glasgow enter one

By Neil Fissler
Albert Tuisue (right), Lewis Ludlow (middle) and Ruan Ackermann (left) arrive prior to the Gloucester Rugby Captain's Run and press conference ahead of the EPCR Challenge Cup Final against Hollywoodbets Sharks at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 23, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Gloucester has won their tug-of-war with Japan League One big guns Yokohama Canon Eagles to keep highly-rated back row Ruan Ackermann at Kingsholm next season.

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Ackermann was keen to move to Japan this summer despite only signing a new contract with Gloucester earlier this year, and sources have told Fissler Confidential that terms were agreed for him to move.

But the Canon Eagles, like all clubs in Japan, aren’t keen on paying out transfer fees for players couldn’t agree terms for his release, and the deal now looks to be dead in the water for the next year at least.

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus explains the process of becoming a Bok

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Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus explains the process of becoming a Bok

Springbok hooker Joseph Dweba is on the radar of French clubs after the Stormers admitted that they are willing to release him from his contract because they feel he is too expensive without SARU funding.

Sale Sharks are keen on signing him, but Dweba is believed to want to stay with the Cape Town side until the end of his contract next summer, even though he isn’t in their plans.

Dweba, who had a spell in France with Bordeaux, has still got admirers in the Top 14 who could test the Sharks resolve to add him to their squad this summer.

United Rugby Championship champions Glasgow Warriors are facing a battle to keep hold of their highly rated fly Tom Jordan, who is out of contract at the end of next season.

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Auckland-born Jordan, 25, made his URC debut for the Warriors in September 2021. He has also played at inside centre and qualifies for Scotland on residency and England and has been attracting interest from Premiership clubs.

Saracens took a look at him when they were looking to replace Owen Farrell and Sale Sharks are believed to be leading the race to land him should he decide to move on from Scotstoun when his contract runs out.

Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell is looking to Japan as he looks to continue his career abroad following a season playing in Super Rugby with the Highlanders.

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Patchell, 31, started his career at Cardiff before moving to the Scarlets in 2016. He made 87 appearances before heading to New Zealand to join the Highlanders on a one-year deal when he was released 12 months ago.

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He only made six appearances for the Highlanders because of a pectoral muscle injury, and his name is believed to have been circulated to Japan Rugby League One clubs in the hope of securing a deal for next season.

Dan McKellar, who was sacked as Leicester Tigers boss last week, only one year into a three-year deal, could suffer a second blow within a week and miss out on the New South Wales Waratahs job.

The Tahs are closing in on appointing someone to replace Darren Coleman, who parted company with the club in May, and it is believed to be a two-horse race between McKellar and former England assistant coach Scott Wisemantel.

McKellar is highly rated within the executive offices at Rugby Australia, but according to insiders Down Under, Wisemantel, who has also coached the Wallabies, is the favourite for the job, and it’s seen as his to lose.

Perpignan beat the closing of the French transfer window on Sunday to complete the signing of former French under-20 international winger Jefferson Joseph from Pro D2 outfit Agen.

Joseph, 21, who has scored two tries in 11 appearances for Agen, signed a four-year deal to move to Perpignan, who have lost wingers Eddie Sawwailau to Oyonnax and Mathieu Acebes to Biarritz.

He is the ninth new signing. Perpignan, who finished tenth in the Top 14 table last season, won 13 and lost 13 of their 26 games have made ahead of next season.

Fijian international winger Filipo Nakosi is on the move this summer and will be swapping Castres for Top 14 new boys  Vannes, his third club in France since moving to Agen nine years ago.

Nakosi, 32, who played for Toulon alongside his younger brother of Racing 92 ace Joshua Tuisova, scored two tries in 15 games for Castres last season.

Vannes, who are looking to sign players with experience of playing in the Top 14, will be hoping that he recaptures his form from Toulon when he touched down ten times in 16 games.

Castres’ Fijian wing Filipo Nakosi (L) runs with the ball during the French Top14 rugby union match between Castres Olympique and Rugby Club Toulonnais (Toulon) at The Pierre-Fabre Stadium in Castres, south-western France, on April 22, 2023. (Photo by Valentine CHAPUIS / AFP) (Photo by VALENTINE CHAPUIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Queensland Reds could follow up their signing of Wallabies utility back Filipo Daugunu on a one-year contract with a move for his Melbourne Rebels team-mate Darby Lancaster.

Sevens international Lancaster, 21, scored four tries in nine games for the now-disbanded Rebels, including a hat-trick against the Highlanders in the eighth round of Super Rugby games in April.

Meanwhile, Wallaby tight-head Taniela Tupou has emerged as a target for the Waratahs’ new head honcho, Simon Raiwalui, who spent two seasons coaching him when he was on the Wallabies coaching staff.

Biarritz have offered Masivesi Dakuwaqa, who was part of the Fiji squad that won an Olympic sevens gold medal in 2016, a two-year deal to move to the Basque coast this summer.

Dakuwaqa, 30, who is almost completely blind in his left eye following an accident with a rubber band in primary school, made 17 appearances for Montpellier last season, scoring one try.

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Thumbs-up Masivesi Dakuwaqa in the Western Force dressing room (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Montpellier, who are making massive changes to their squad this summer, won’t stand in the way of Dakuwaqa, who plays on the wing or in the back row from ripping up the final year of his contract.

Kevin Sinfield will miss England’s first test against the All Blacks next weekend because he is travelling home for the funeral of close friend Rob Burrow.

Sinfield was due to step down as one of Steve Borthwick’s assistants after England returned from New Zealand, but England players have been pushing for him to stay on.

While there were whispers earlier this week that a return to Leicester Tigers as part of Michael Cheika’s coaching staff was a possibility depending on who else leaves the club following the sacking of Dan McKellar.

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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