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Lyon raid Leicester to sign Jordan Taufua as medical joker for injured Mathieu Bastareaud

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks back row hopeful Jordan Taufua has joined Lyon as a medical joker, initially signing from Leicester to provide cover for the remainder of the Top 14 season for the injured Mathieu Bastareaud and Gillian Galan. He has also penned a deal for the two years after that, keeping him at Lyon until 2023.

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A starter twice in Europe in December, the Auckland-born back row – who turns 29 on Friday – made just two Gallagher Premiership appearances off the Leicester bench this season, his second year with the English club.  

Taufua made a dozen league appearances in his debut season at Leicester after joining them from the Crusaders. However, having fallen down the pecking order under new Tigers boss Steve Borthwick, the Geordan Murphy signing has decided to continue his career elsewhere and is currently in quarantine in France.

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Chris Ashton’s first media interview as a Worcester player

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Chris Ashton’s first media interview as a Worcester player

A statement on Wednesday from Lyon read: “We are happy to announce the recruitment of Jordan Taufua to compensate for the absences of Bastareaud and Gallan. He turns 29 this Friday and he arrives in good time for Pierre Mignoni and his staff to strengthen a pack not spared from injury this season.

“Expected today [Wednesday] in Lyon, the new back row will still have to observe a period of quarantine lasting seven days before being able to join the Lyon workforce and discover his new teammates.

“Prior to joining Leicester Tigers two years ago, Taufua played at Crusaders, one of New Zealand’s top provinces, with whom he won Super Rugby three times in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2018, his performances propelled him in selection but an injury deprived him of a first cap under the jersey of the All Blacks.”

Lyon are currently seventh in the Top 14 with eight wins from 14 matches, but they have had a tough run recently when losing three of their five games. They take on Pau this Friday at home, but the game where Taufua will potentially make his debut is the February 13 trip to Racing.

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Flankly 2 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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