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Sale Sharks' pursuit of Nakarawa intensifies as lock's career at Racing in tatters

Sale Sharks will this week step up their bid to sign Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa, the former European Player of the Year, who is currently in dispute with Racing 92 to solve a secondrow crisis at the Gallagher Premiership outfit.

Sale’s need for extra secondrow options has become acute following Jean-Luc du Preez’s sending off for use of the shoulder to the head of an opponent in the 20-13 loss to Worcester and he could be out for six weeks. Steve Diamond, the Sale director of rugby, told RugbyPass: “Our immediate thought process is to get Nakawara in.”

Diamond is already operating without World Cup-winning Springbok lock Lood de Jager who is not expected to join the club until the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery for an injury suffered as South Africa beat England in the final in Yokohama. Josh Beaumont, the former Sale captain, is recovering knee reconstruction surgery and is out for an extended period further depleting the secondrow options.

As a result, Jean-Luc’s twin brother Dan will be asked to play lock rather than No6 in the Heineken Champions Cup clash with Exeter at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday with the teams meeting against a Sandy Park a week later.

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Nakarawa is currently back in Fiji having made a short return to France where it is understood he was told his career at Racing 92 was all but over following an extended absence after helping Fiji in the Rugby World Cup. Nakarawa, a former Fijian army officer, is currently overseeing the construction of a new family home in Waila and negotiations with Sale on on-going.

Diamond is keenly aware of the need to bolster his pack and added: “Dan du Preez will go into lock against Exeter and we will have James Phillips and the situation with Nakawara is that he has to be given a two weeks grace under French regulations and if we can get him then we will.

“Initially it would be a case of getting him in with the view of signing a longer-term deal. We are not going to panic about the current secondrow situation and we could say that we lost against Worcester because of the red card and, in hindsight, we probably did. Equally, there were areas of the game where we did deal with things as well as we could, but we lost four line outs late in the game. That is suicide.

“We are the most disciplined team in the Premiership and we have to look at the offences we gave away. We fully respected Worcester and knew they were a good side and had to be at our best to beat them. We scored a great interception try from Faf de Klerk which is something we had worked on all week, but down to 14 men in the second half, Faf had to operate in a different position in the defence.”

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Sale Sharks' pursuit of Nakarawa intensifies as lock's career at Racing in tatters