According to a report in Midi Olympique, South African full-back Andries Coetzee is set to sign a three-year deal with Toulon.
Should the deal go ahead, Coetzee will join Chris Ashton and Josua Tuisova in a star-studded back three on the Côte d’Azur, with the likes of JP Pietersen, Hugh Bonneval and Filipo Nakosi, Tuisova’s brother, also competing for a spot.
It’s yet another piece of bad news for the Lions who, despite topping the South African conference in Super Rugby, have struggled to match the consistency of the past two seasons since Johan Ackermann left the franchise. The departures of Ruan Dreyer, Franco Mostert and Jaco Kriel have also been confirmed, with the trio all heading to Kingsholm next season to join up with Ackermann at Gloucester.
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The signing of Coetzee would give Toulon the specialist full-back that they craved at times last season, with Ashton spending much of the campaign in the 15 jersey. The Englishman excelled offensively in the role but there were a couple of pivotal games where his unfamiliarity with the position told and the South African’s potential arrival would allow him to move back to his favoured spot on the wing.
As for the Lions, the 2018 season is proving to be a testing one for the franchise off the field and these are unlikely to be the last departures head coach Swys de Bruin must deal with.
For all the successes of the Lions over recent seasons, the franchise’s inability to meet quota requirements was the constant criticism and that is another challenge that de Bruin will have to manage this coming offseason.
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