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Toulon sound out Irish coach

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Toulon could turn to an Irishman to help rev up 'The Bus'

Struggling Toulon have sounded out an Irishman about the possibility of helping breathe fresh impetus into the French club next season. 

The three-time Champions Cup champions have been on a downward spiral in recent times and have become a pantomime in the Top 14 due to the histrionics of owner Mourad Boudjellal who created worldwide headlines with his personalised attack of All Black Julian Savea, the devastating finisher known as ‘The Bus’.

In the wake of a defeat at Agen, Boudjellal claimed Savea was no longer welcome at the club as his form wasn’t good enough for the French league.

Toulon are currently in 10th position on the table with just eight wins in 19 outings and are 13 points outside the sixth and final play-off position currently occupied by Racing 92. Their latest setback was an 18-21 home defeat to fellow strugglers Montpellier, a loss Savea was not involved in.

That defeat followed an alleged midweek meeting in Paris – reported in the Monday print edition of Midi Olympique – between Toulon head coach Patrice Collazo and former Munster scrum-half Mike Prendergast, who this season has been coaching the backs at Stade Francais.

(Continue reading below…)

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The Parisians are two wins and eight points better off than Toulon on the table and it will be interesting if Prendergast, who previously coached at Grenoble and Oyonnax is tempted south.

Collazo is seemingly looking for someone to work alongside current assistant Sébastien Tillous-Borde, but whether Prendergast feels his career would be best served by leaving Stade after just a single season remains to be seen.

There was upheaval at Stade over the winter with former scrum-half Julian Dupuy removed from the coaching ticket by new boss Heyneke Meyer.

Prendergast recently told RugbyPass that he was enjoying the experience under the former South African 2015 World Cup coach.

Gloucester was one stop during the playing career of Mike Prendergast, who is now coaching at Stade Francais (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

“He’s brilliant, a very passionate coach. He’s a very approachable coach as well, which is great. He wants coaches to express themselves and trusts his coaches in what they are trying to do. He has been great to work with,” said Prendergast, whose time at Stade coincided with the arrival of his good friend from Limerick, former Ireland and Lions skipper Paul O’Connell, as forwards coach.

“There was a couple of changes before Christmas, but we’re working away, keeping the head down and trying to do our best.”

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Toulon could turn to an Irishman to help rev up 'The Bus'