Contract news has flown thick and fast out of the doors of Top 14 giants Toulouse this week.
One-club wingman Maxime Medard signed an extension to stay at the club until at least 2021 this week as he hunts down former team-mate Vincent Clerc’s recent record of 101 Top 14 tries.
Prop Clément Castets has agreed his first professional deal two days after more than holding his own against Leinster’s Tadhg Furlong for nearly 60 minutes of Sunday’s epic Champions Cup pool 1 encounter between the two four-time winners at Stade Ernest Wallon.
But the search continues for a medical joker for injured Scotland international Richie Gray. The move could quickly extend beyond the boundaries of a short-term deal, with Toulouse looking to bolster their squad for next season. According to reports in France, the club have their eye on Saracens’ in-demand Australian international Will Skelton.
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But, while Skelton’s deal with Saracens ends in May, Toulouse’s interest and the initial short-term medical joker-contract offer may not be enough to tempt the 6ft 8ins, 21st player from north London to southwest France.
They are already pretty much the third spoke in a contract wheel. Saracens’ Director of Rugby Mark McCall has already said that he wants the Wallaby to stay at Barnet. Meanwhile, a return to Australia to bid for a place in the squad for next year’s World Cup in Japan has become a real option.
Bulking up the engine room is considered a priority in the corridors of Ernest Wallon, even if Gray, along with Joe Tekori and Florian Vergaeghe remain under contract in 2019-20. Pierre Gayraud may also stay if the one-year extension option on his deal is activated.
Piula Fa’asalele’s current deal expires in June. Talks are ongoing, but his status as a non-France qualified player is counting against him in talks, reports say – a claim that would add a veneer of hypocrisy to any Skelton deal, as he could not be registered as JIFF.
It would, however, bolster the case for 26-year-old Bastien Chalureau, who cut his rugby teeth at Toulouse and currently plays for Pro D2 high-fliers Nevers. Toulouse expressed an interest in the 2m, 118kg lock at the beginning of October, but moves to bring him to the Pink City as an additional player hit the rocks. Toulouse interest remains high, and Chalureau does have a release clause in his current contract if a Top 14 club makes a formal offer.
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