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Toulon coach puts on pressure

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'He has nine games left to show his value' - Toulon coach issues Savea ultimatum

The non-stop pressure on former All Black Julian Savea from Toulon management has continued, with head coach Patrice Collazo issuing in an ultimatum in an interview with French publication Van Matin. 

“Do I want Savea to be in Toulon next season?

“Julian is under contract. The important thing is for me the only truth of the field.

“I wish the best players for my club. He has nine games left to show his value,” Collazo said.

Savea is only in the first season of his two-year deal with the club but the unfolding drama with Toulon’s owner has clouded whether he will see out a second year.

After Toulon lost to Agen, Boudjellal heavily criticised the winger saying he no longer wanted him at the club. Collazo dropped Savea for the side’s next clash against Pau, where they were able to bounce back with a 38-11 win and record just their seventh win of the season.

Toulon’s coach has defended himself against the poor results this season by claiming he ‘did not choose the players’ and that arrived late for the season.

“I arrived at the last moment. I did not choose the players I was going to work with. It took me some time to evaluate the people. I have a message to convey. Some things had to be put in their place, some habits changed,” he said.

After failing to get out of the pool for the first time ever in the Champions Cup, the 10th-placed side in the Top 14 is looking for an overhaul in order to change things for expectant owner Boudjellal. Colazzo advised he needs more ‘character’ in the squad for next season.

“I will have the next season of the players to the profile that I will have chosen.”

That ‘profile’ includes another New Zealander winger in former Chief Bryce Heem, who has been confirmed as a departure by his current club Worcester Warriors.

Worcester wrote of Heem: “Ed Fidow’s recruitment will help to counter-balance the loss of Heem who has opted to pursue his career outside of the Gallagher Premiership.

“Bryce has reached the point in his career where he has decided that he wants a different experience.

“We have tried our best to persuade him otherwise, but, unfortunately to no avail.”

The addition of Heem will bring another winger to Toulon, along with current Hurricane and All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Savea, who has been frequently played at inside centre by Colazzo this year, will have more competition next season to find time on the flank but whether he remains with the side remains to be seen.

Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O’Gara:

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'He has nine games left to show his value' - Toulon coach issues Savea ultimatum