A report from South African news outlet Rapport stated that the Kings, who have won just three of their last 40 matches in the European competition, were in the market for Savea and his teammate and former three-test Springbok Jacques Potgieter.
However, Savea has taken to social media to shut down the rumours.
Posting a link to an article reporting the story on Twitter, Savea accompanied it with the caption: “Sorry to disappoint guys but this isn’t true for me.”
sorry to disappoint guys but this isn’t true for me. https://t.co/dsn57H5JRJ
— Julian Savea (@juliansavea7) April 8, 2019
Both he and Potgieter have endured turbulent times since joining Toulon in the Top 14 off-season.
Savea has been publicly criticised by club owner Mourad Boudjellal, while he and his family have been the subject of a raft of online abuse from Toulon fans after numerous underwhelming performances since joining the club from the Hurricanes last year.
Less than a year into his two-season deal worth NZ$1.65 million-per-year, Boudjellal told RMC that Savea “wasn’t welcome at Toulon any more” in February, but the 28-year-old, who scored 46 tries in 54 tests for the All Blacks, vowed to honour the remainder of his contract.
Potgieter, meanwhile, has struggled for game time since his switch from Japanese Top League club Munakata Sanix Blues.
Rumours of the shock transfers arose shortly after an announcement of a partnership between the Kings and Toulon, which will allow the two clubs to share resources, youth academy facilities, an exchange programme for coaches and players, venture into joint commercial opportunities, and play fixtures between each other.
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Reports from South Africa suggest that Pro14's Southern Kings are interested in signing Julian Savea in a release deal with Toulon but would have to release up to 20 players to fit him on the books. ?@isuzusouthernkings @pro14official #pro14 #rugby #southernkings #sarugby #toulon #rctoulon #stademayol #top14 #francerugby
The arrival of both Savea and Potgieter would have severe ramifications for the Kings, with Rapport reporting that at least 20 players would have to be released in order to accomodate the pair financially.
The move to sign the duo shows a sign of intent from the Kings’ new owners, The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World (Pty) Ltd (GRC), which bought a 74 percent shareholding of the club from South African Rugby last month to take majority ownership, making the Port Elizabeth-based franchise South Africa’s first privately-owned professional side.
The Eastern Province Rugby Union acquired the remaining 26 percent of shares.
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