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French stars to leave Toulouse

France lock Yoann Maestri

Yoann Maestri will leave Toulouse to join Top 14 rivals La Rochelle and his France team-mate Jean-Marc Doussain will also move on at the end of the season.

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Lock Maestri has agreed to make the switch to Stade Marcel-Deflandre on a deal that will run until 2022.

He was part of the Toulouse squad that won the Heineken Cup in 2010 and the 29-year-old has also claimed two Top 14 titles since his move from Toulon in 2009.

The second-row will join a La Rochelle side that are third in the Top 14 table, just two points better off than his current employers, when his contract expires next June.

Maestri has won 60 caps for Les Bleus and captained a France XV in a defeat to a New Zealand side in Lyon on Tuesday.

Toulouse also revealed that they have been unable to agree terms with fly-half Doussain.

The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to Top 14 leaders Lyon.

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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