A Japanese World Cup star is being lined up to help replace departing Clermont duo Nick Abendanon and Remi Grosso at the end of this season.

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Reports in France claim that the Englishman and his French colleague are expected to be soon off the books at the club, paving the way for the recruitment of Kotaro Matsushima for the 2020/21 season. 

The 26-year-old winger shot to prominence at the recent world finals, scoring five tries and finishing joint second on tournament’s overall try-scoring chart.  

According to rugbyrama.fr, Clermont’s initial port of call in identifying a new recruit was Racing’s Brice Dulin, but that trail went cold and they have instead focused their attention on  Matsushima who is currently under contract at Suntory Sungoliath in the Japanese Top League. 

The World Cup wasn’t the first time Matsushima caught the attention of French eyes as he played at full-back in Japan’s 23-all draw with France in Paris in November 2017.

If the deal goes through, Matsushima would become the second Japanese player to play for Clermont, following in the pioneering footsteps of Daisuke Ohata who represented the club for a few months in 2002/03 before homesickness got the better of him.

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