Toulon are stepping up their efforts to tempt Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb to the Top 14 next season, after missing out on the signature of Bordeaux nine Yann Lesgourges, reports in France have claimed.
The lightning-fast Lesgourges was courted by the three-time European champions. But Fabien Galthie has turned his attention again to the Ospreys’ player after Lesgourges reportedly agreed to stay at Stade Chaban-Delmas for another three years.
Webb poured cold water on reports of a move away from Wales during an interview after Ospreys’ Pro 14 match against Munster. He said: “We’re working closing with the WRU at the moment so hopefully we can get things sorted.”
But French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique reports that Toulon are prepared to table an offer for Webb in the coming days.
It follows the latest blow to Mourad Boudjellal’s stated intentions to build a complete French-qualified team capable of challenging for the Top 14 title within five years.
But it seems the change in attitude is genuine. Last weekend, Mourad Boudjellal trumpeted the fact that seven of the players selected for the matchday 23 for the away win over Stade Francais had come through the club’s academy set-up.
demain 7 joueurs du centre de formation sur la feuille de match c est le nouveau rct
— Mourad Boudjellal (@mouradrct) September 23, 2017
It is not so very long ago that the club threatened to forfeit a Top 14 match because they would have been forced to field academy players.
The club is also said to be keen on retaining the services of out-of-contract Sebastian Tillous-Borde. A move to Toulon would mean Webb could compete for the number 9 shirt with French-qualified Tillous-Borde, Eric Escande and rising star Anthony Meric.
Lesgourges, who moved to Bordeaux from Biarritz in 2014, is the second big-name France-qualified Toulon target to reject the club’s advances for next season. Last week, centre Jonathan Danty opted to stay at Stade Francais.
He opted to continue his challenge French international Baptiste Serin for the starting scrum-half berth at Bordeaux. He has featured in all five of the club’s matches so far this season, starting three times.
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