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Two of Clermont's biggest stars are leaving the club

By James Harrington
Clermont's David Strettle

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Scott Spedding and David Strettle will both leave Clermont when their contracts run out at the end of the season, the club’s coach Franck Azema has revealed.

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“Between the salary cap and the JIFF we must find the right balance for ASM,” he told reporters, a comment that was later tweeted from the club’s official account.

Spedding, the 31-year-old South African-born French international fullback, joined Clermont in 2015, after three seasons at Bayonne. He was named in France coach Guy Noves’ 32-player training squad for the first of the November Tests against the All Blacks on November 11.

He arrived at the club at the same time as David Strettle. The former Saracen had turned down one last shot at an England place to join the Top 14 side, telling then-coach Stuart Lancaster he would not attend a pre-World Cup training camp to head to France.

It is likely that French clubs will jettison more non-JIFF players as increasingly strict quota system takes effect. This season, clubs must field on average at least 14 French-qualified players in every Top 14 match or risk being docked points at the end of the season. They are further allowed to have only 16 overseas players in their 45-strong first team squad.

The double departure is the latest announcement ahead of what is building into an unusual exodus from Clermont, a club that usually has little trouble hanging on to players.

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The club has already announced that prop Raphaël Chaume – who is celebrating his first call-up to France colours – will leave for Lyon at the end of the season, while they seem convinced that international winger Noa Nakaitaci is also heading for the exit door.

Rumour in France is that Nakaitaci will follow Chaume to ambitious Lyon.

Clermont will also have to find a replacement for club captain Aurelien Rougerie. The 37-year-old, who has made more than 400 appearances for the club in a career dating back to 1999, will hang up his boots at the end of the season.

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