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Lyon won't be signing Marcus Smith but they have taken interest in an Irish player's CV

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Attempts by Lyon to try and tempt in-demand Harlequins out-half Marcus Smith into signing for the Top 14 club are over, but they have now reportedly taken an interest in ex-Northampton No10 JJ Hanrahan, who these days has been playing out of his native Munster. 


The soon-to-be 22-year-old Smith has still to decide whether he is staying on at Harlequins. The dynamic at the London club has recently changed with the sudden departure of Paul Gustard as director of rugby and the on-going root-and-branch club review by Owen Eastwood.

Prior to Gustard’s exit, Smith had been linked with moves to the Top 14 and elsewhere in the Gallagher Premiership. Finding an out-half has been a major priority for some months now at Lyon, but the uncapped Smith has decided that a switch to France isn’t worth having to shelve his England international prospects for.  

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Johnnie Beattie joins Ryan Wilson and Jamie Roberts on the latest RugbyPass Offload
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With Rhys Priestland expected to be leaving Bath at the end of the season, Smith was also linked some months ago with a move to The Rec but as it stands his future remains unresolved and there could be every chance now with Harlequins bringing in a new director of rugby that he will opt to stay on at The Stoop. 

With Lyon securing the signature of Smith no longer a possibility, Midi Olympique have also reported that the club are instead weighing up the credentials of La Rochelle’s Ihaia West, who is also wanted by Clermont, and Hanrahan, who spent two years at Northampton before returning to Munster in 2017. 

The 28-year-old kicked nine from nine when Munster pulled off an incredible Heineken Champions Cup comeback victory at Clermont in December, winning 39-31 at Stade Marcel Michelin after trailing 9-28 just 24 minutes into the game in France. 


Another possible out-half transfer in France is veteran Francois Trinh-Duc leaving Racing 92 at the end of the season to provide back-up to Matthieu Jalibert at Bordeaux, the club that Ireland back row CJ Stander has also been linked with. Bordeaux, though, are now expected to sign Louis Picamoles as their new No8.


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