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Mourad Boudjellal 'looking to offload Toulon'

RC Toulon v Bath Rugby – Champions Cup

Mourad Boudjellal is again looking for a buyer for Top 14 club Toulon, according to reports in the French media.

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He has instructed Didier Poulmaire – who helped US billionaire Frank McCourt buy French top-flight soccer outfit Olympique de Marseille – and global audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG to find a buyer for his stake in the club by 2019, economic magazine Challenges said.

Poulmaire is responsible for ‘enhancing the Toulon brand’. He is behind a club bid to buy its training centre from local authorities in the blue-collar port town on the Mediterranean coast of France. And he is also said to be considering funding overseas academies.

It is the second time in little more than a year that Boudjellal has sought to divest himself of the club he has owned since 2006.

In September 2016, he was close to selling-up to cinema producer and medical logistics industry executive Gérard Barba – but walked away from the deal. Boudjellal’s decision to stay on was prompted by a direct appeal from then FFR presidential candidate Bernard Laporte, Challenges says.

That decision would cost him dearly. Earlier this year, he dug deep into his own pockets to bail the club out of a reported €2million hole in their finances that could have seen them busted down to the second-tier ProD2. As a result, he increased his stake in the club from 51% to 93%.

Boudjellal is rather less optimistic a year after he was persuaded to stay on. “We are in a collectivist system marked by large operating deficits and declining enthusiasm. The Top 14 must find a new development model,” he is on record as saying.

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Boudjellal took charge at Toulon in 2006, back when the club was languishing in the ProD2 with a clearly stated ambition to return the then four-time French champions to their former glories. During his time in charge, the club has won the ProD2 title, the Top 14 Bouclier de Brennus and a hat-trick of European titles.

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William 3 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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