Toulon’s recent savage criticism of Julian Savea hasn’t put them off the scent of recruiting other Kiwi imports.
Club owner Mourad Boudjellal dramatically claimed that Savea, his big-money All Black, was “not the player” he signed after a poor display in last weekend’s loss at Agen.
Boudjellal controversially claimed: “I’m going to ask for a DNA test. It is not Savea that we recreated but ‘Savéapas’. They had to change it on the plane. If I were him, I would apologise and I would go home.
“When we reach this level of play, we must apologize and leave… I told him he was released and he was no longer welcome in Toulon!” Boudjellal told RMC Sport.
Boudjellal’s astonishing Savea savaging, though, hasn’t deterred his fellow New Zealander Bryce Heem from taking up a two-year contract at Toulon, according to a report in French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique.
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A product of the Super Rugby Chiefs who learned the ropes on the NPC circuit at Northland, Auckland and Tasman, Heem has proven a good value for money investment at Worcester in the English Premiership, making 59 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons after his arrival in late 2015.
The versatile 30-year-old back, who can play wing and centre, has managed six tries in his 13 league appearances this term.
That is the sort of strike rate that contrasts positively when compared to Savea who has managed just two tries in 16 Champions Cup and Top 14 games with the French big-spenders he joined at the start of the season.
Savea was capped 54 times by the All Blacks, scoring 46 tries. That gave him one of the best try-scoring strike rates in international rugby history.
However, a loss of form saw him slip out of contention for the All Blacks and he decided to try his luck in France after also losing out at the Hurricanes.
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