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Fissler Confidential: Owen Farrell's replacement... and a Bok rebuffing

By Neil Fissler
Former England captain, Owen Farrell looks on during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on March 09, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Toulon and Montpellier are among the Top 14 clubs exploring the possibility of taking Munster outside centre Antoine Frisch back to France despite him having another year left on his contract.

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Fontainebleau-born Frisch, who was educated at Loughborough University and moved to Munster from Bristol Bears in 2022, remains eligible to play for Ireland after not winning a French cap against England last week.

The Federation Francaise de Rugby are keen for Frisch, the 27-year-old who has scored four tries in 15 appearances for Munster this season, to move to a French club this summer despite it likely to cost a six-figure fee.

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Gloucester are stepping up their attempts to sign another England-qualified back-three player amid rumours that contract talks with veteran England flyer Jonny May are deadlocked.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup runner-up, who celebrates his 34th birthday on April 1, has had talks with Saracens which would allow him to be based in London for media opportunities.

The Cherry and Whites, who have signed Christian Wade to replace Louis Rees-Zammit, are working quickly to get someone else into the club and have cast admiring glances in the direction of Regan Grace.

Tonga international full-back Telusa Veainu is keen to stay in the Gallagher Premiership when his one-year contract with Sale Sharks runs out this summer.

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The former New Zealand U20s international played in Supr Rugby before enjoying a five-year stint with Leicester Tigers. He has also played in France for three seasons with Stade Francais.

Veainu, who can also play on both wings, has a couple of very lucrative offers from Japan Rugby League One. He doesn’t want to uproot his young family from the UK and is ready to listen to offers from the top flight.

Saracens are close to reaching an agreement to sign highly-rated Crusaders fly-half Fergus Burke, as Mark McCall steps up his bid to replace former England captain Owen Farrell.

The 24-year-old Burke was on Gregor Townsend’s radar earlier this year when Scottish Rugby made him a big-money offer for him to join Glasgow Warriors and switch his international allegiances to Scotland.

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As reported by Fissler Confidential earlier this month, McCall has already lined up Newcastle Falcons starlet Louie Johnson and is now close to securing Burke, who is currently out of action with an achilles injury.

Montpellier have dramatically called off a move for former Springboks fly-half Curwin Bosch despite being in advanced talks to sign him from United Rugby Championship strugglers the Sharks this summer.

The 26-year-old Bosch is due to be under contract to the Durban franchise until 2026 but was keen to move to France to kick-start a career that brought him three caps in 2017 but has stalled in the last couple of seasons.

But Montpellier, who are remodelling their squad for next season after a struggling campaign in the Top 14, are now ready to look elsewhere for another playmaker.

Former England tighthead prop Paul Hill is set to swap Northampton Saints for the URC next season after agreeing on a move to the Scottish capital Edinburgh.

The 29-year-old Hill was born in Germany but raised in Doncaster before starting his career in outposts like Otley, Darlington Mowden Park, and Yorkshire Carnegie before moving to Northampton nine years ago.

His time at Franklin’s Gardens brought him eight England caps and he is closing in on 200 appearances for Saints but, according to sources on both sides of the border, he has sealed a move to Edinburgh this summer.

Bristol Bears, who are attempting to move away from the Galacticos business model, are set to move for highly-rated Leicester Tigers scrum-half Sam Edwards as they look to bring in younger players.

The ex-England U20s international has made 13 appearances in three seasons for the Tigers, scoring two tries and came off the bench in the Premiership Rugby Cup final defeat to Gloucester last weekend.

The York-born half-back has been playing for Championship strugglers Cambridge this season, which has restricted his Tigers appearances to four in the Premiership Cup.

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter admits that the club hopes to issue an update on the future of Scotland lock Jonny Gray, who has missed the whole season with a knee injury.

It is believed that Gray has agreed to join Bordeaux but he hasn’t played since damaging a kneecap during Exeter’s Champions Cup semi-final defeat by La Rochelle at the end of last season.

Baxter said: “We will probably get an update in the next week or two about exactly where things are with him. I know it’s a pressing thing for some people, but it’s a relatively delicate thing when it’s medical.”

Steve Diamond, who says he will be shipping as many as 20 players out of Newcastle Falcons in the next few weeks, has been linked with a move for former England winger Ruaridh McConnochie.

The 32-year-old has only played three times for Bath this season after dislocating his shoulder against Sale but he returned to play in their friendlies against Gloucester and Leinster.

The Olympic sevens silver medalist, who won two senior England caps before switching his allegiances to Scotland, could be a target for Diamond, who will be in his element wheeling and dealing over the coming months.

The chat around the southern hemisphere has been that the Jaguares, who are set to rejoin Super Rugby in 2026, could be asked to return a year earlier than anticipated after the demise of the Melbourne Rebels.

Bringing the Jaguares, who played in the competition between 2016 and 2020, back a year early was high on the agenda when the Super Rugby board got together in Melbourne earlier in the month.

But several leading player agents have told Fissler Confidential that no moves have been made to sign any players. With players being snapped up and time running out their return appears unlikely to happen in 2025.

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1 Comment
J
Joseph 120 days ago

I’m sure Curwin Bosch would be flattered to still be associated with the word “Bok”. Yes, he played 2 test matches, but he’s now so far down the pecking order that it’s not worth mentioning.

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