Mathieu Bastareaud is alleged to have received what has been described as a “concrete offer” to join Irish side Munster on a short-term deal covering the start of the 2019/20 season.
The long-serving France midfielder’s club future for the remainder of the calendar year is in a state of flux following his omission from his country’s squad for the World Cup in Japan.
The rumbustious French centre had assumed he would be going to the finals in Japan and had said his goodbyes to Toulon, as he has a contract signed to play with Rugby United New York in America in their 2020 MLR season.
He is still under contract with Toulon until December 1 before he temporarily leaves them for his half-year stint in New York. However, they did not include him in their plans for the start of the new 2019/20 Top 14 season as they believed he would be unavailable due to representing his country in Japan.
That assumption was torn asunder on June 18 when Jacques Brunel left Bastareaud out of the 31-strong France squad for the finals, the centre even failing to be included in the standby list of the players also announced.
— RUGBYRAMA (@RugbyramaFR) July 4, 2019
That rejection has created a soap opera as to what he will do in the next few months to take up his time. In meetings with Toulon coach Patrice Collazo, president Mourad Boudjellal and recruitment manager Laurent Emmanuelli, it was decided by both sides to set July 8 as the deadline for a decision on whether he will return to his parent club before making the switch to the MLR.
However, Bastareaud has been busy assessing his options elsewhere and, according to French bi-weekly newspaper Midi Olympique, they include what they describe as a “concrete offer” from Johann van Graan’s Munster.
A switch to Ireland would be an eye-catching development for both the 30-year-old and the Irish province who are looking for an injection in their back-field with ex-Australian assistant Stephen Larkham due to start work as their new attack coach.
However, rather than embark on a short-term Irish adventure, the French newspaper is of the belief that Bastareaud’s preference is to play as a medical joker for either his former club Stade Francais or Montpellier and that he will give the Munster offer the thumbs down.
It is reported that Montpellier have sent him a contract proposal as they want him as cover for Francois Steyn who is expected to be away at the World Cup with South Africa. Financial terms are said to be agreeable, even if the club isn’t Bastareaud’s first choice.
Stade Francais are believed to have returned with a proposal to Bastareaud on Wednesday and once they decide who he would potentially replace as a joker, the player will have all the information at his disposal and he will make a decision by the weekend.
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