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Fissler Confidential: The latest twist in where next for Jonny May

By Neil Fissler
Exiting Gloucester winger Jonny May (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Soyaux Angouleme XV Charente have expressed an interest in signing former England winger Jonny May, who is leaving Gallagher Premiership strugglers Gloucester this summer, but their budget is only €5,000 (£4,200) a month.

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It is unlikely to be enough to tempt May into moving to SA XV, who finished in 12th place in this season’s Pro D2. He is likely to hold out for a move to America’s Major League Rugby rather than sign for less than he believes he is worth.

SA XV are also interested in signing Sale Sharks full-back Telusa Veainu when the one-year contract the Tongan signed in Manchester after leaving Stade Francais last summer rubs out at the end of next month.

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Antoine Dupont is the GREATEST rugby player EVER – Leinster vs Toulouse reaction

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Toulouse beating Leinster in the final of the Investec Champions Cup and discuss Antoine Dupont who was named player of the match.

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Antoine Dupont is the GREATEST rugby player EVER – Leinster vs Toulouse reaction

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Toulouse beating Leinster in the final of the Investec Champions Cup and discuss Antoine Dupont who was named player of the match.

Bulls playmaker Chris Smith has turned down the chance to move to France where Oyonnax, who are set to be relegated from the Top 14, wanted him to spearhead their bid for promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.

The Cape Town-born 29-year-old is set to make his 50th United Rugby Championship appearance in Saturday’s clash with the Sharks. In his five years with the Bulls, he has twice won the Currie Cup.

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Smith, who was educated at Stellenbosch University, has made 16 appearances this season and was wanted by Oyonnax, who are losing Domingo Miotti and Jules Soulan to Montpellier and Provence respectively.

Scotland loosehead Oli Kebble, who was announced as being one of five players leaving Glasgow Warriors this summer, has been attracting serious interest from the top two divisions in France.

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The 31-year-old Durban-born Junior World Cup winner with South Africa has won 12 Scotland caps. He arrived at Scotstoun in 2017 after spells with the Stormers and Western Province and has made 102 appearances for the Warriors.

Meanwhile, Scotland international hooker George Turner, part of Gregor Townsend’s Rugby World Cup squad in France, is expected to join Japanese club Kobelco Kobe Steelers on a 12-month deal following his departure from the Warriors.

The Scarlets are interviewing for a new high-performance boss to work alongside Dwayne Peel and have spoken to former Cheetahs and Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan.

He has been working as an assistant coach under Johan Ackermann in Japan at Urayasu D-Rocks and despite helping them to win promotion back to Japan’s top flight, his departure has been announced.

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There have been wild rumours about Ackermann, whose future in Japan is up in the air, being interviewed by Scarlets, but we understand that the budget is only £120,000 a year to fill the role, which is unlikely to be enough to attract him.

Montpellier, who are threatened with relegation from the Top 14 this season, have been forced to rethink their recruitment plans for next season with Wallabies tighthead Taniela Tupou set to remain in Australia next season despite the closure of Melbourne Rebels.

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The 28-year-old Tongan is under contract to Rugby Australia until 2025 but has been linked with Montpellier as well as Leinster who wanted him to replace Clermont-bound Michael Ala’alatoa.

With Tupou set to be placed with the Waratahs, it means that Montpellier will have to look elsewhere to strengthen their front row this summer. They already have Mohamed Haouas and Nika Abuladze signed up.

Saracens are stepping up their bid to sign a tighthead for next season after being beaten by Northampton Saints in the Premiership semi-finals on Friday night. The dethroned champions are losing Christian Judge, who has made 12 starts this season.

He is heading off to the south of France this summer to join Beziers and Saracens are getting desperate to bring someone to London. They are also looking for a winger but have been making little headway with their recruitment drive in the last few weeks despite already announcing a whole host of departures.

Sale have awarded highly rated cross-code convert hooker Alfie Longstaff a three-year deal to join their senior academy where he will combine playing with studying for a degree in quantity surveying at Salford University.

The 18-year-old Woodhouse Grove School-educated player spent two years with Warrington Wolves but turned down a contract offer from the Super League side to pursue a career in rugby union.

It has been reported that Longstaff will be placed on a dual registration with a National League club next season to gain some experience and continue his development.

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Clermont have announced that veteran French international tighthead Rabah Slimani will leave the Stade Marcel-Michelin when his contract expires this summer. The 34-year-old has made 147 appearances in his seven years with ASM after starting his career with almost 100 games to his name in the French capital with Stade Francais.

It has been reported in France that Slimani, who has 57 Test caps, has several clubs keen on signing him up and are now stepping up their interest in doing a deal.

The RFU are looking for a new spin doctor after it was announced that their respected comms chief, Kathryn Williamson, is standing down to take a career break. She joined the RFU from British Airways four years ago when Gareth Mills left to join the Premier League and was promoted to the Twickenham executive team in January 2022.

Williamson, who was ranked sixth in PR Week’s Sports Powerbook top 10 this year, will depart England Rugby next spring once her replacement is in place. A search is already underway.

Ealing Trailfinders have signed up winger Francis Moore and back row Tomiwa Agbongbon to strengthen their squad ahead of another defence of their Championship crown. Ex-England U20 international Moore made a couple of appearances for Saracens in the Premiership Cup last season and also played for Ampthill.

Agbongbon, who was born in New Jersey and raised in England, has spent two years in the MLR playing for the Houston SaberCats, He also has experience in the Premiership Cup with Leicester Tigers.

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