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Toulon owner follows through on Rhys Webb threat

By Josh Raisey
Wales' Rhys Webb is forced off with an injury versus New Zealand in November 2017 (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

In the first fixture since Toulon owner Bernard Lemaitre suggested Ospreys-bound scrumhalf Rhys Webb will not play for the club again, he has been omitted from their contest against the Scarlets this Sunday in the Challenge Cup.

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Lemaitre had said that it was unlikely that Webb would represent the three-time Champions Cup winners again due to his dishonest attitude, relating to his move back to the Ospreys at the end of the season, which in turn allows him to represent Wales at this year’s Six Nations. Webb is set to leave the French club despite having another year left on his contract after his family had moved back to Wales.

However, Lemaitre’s predecessor Mourad Boudjellal had the reputation at times of being full of sound and fury but signifying nothing, particularly with regards to his spat with All Black Julian Savea last season, whereby he also insisted that the winger would not play for Toulon again. Savea continued to play, and still does to this day.

However, Webb has been excluded from the 27-man squad that will travel to the Parc y Scarlets this weekend, and has been put down as one that is ‘outside the group’.

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Toulon head coach Patrice Collazo has turned to France’s Baptiste Serin and the 21-year-old Yoan Cottin in the Welshman’s absence, although Serin would have started ahead of him in all likelihood anyway.

Toulon currently sit at the top of Pool 2 in the Challenge Cup, and a victory on Sunday would given them an unassailable lead at the top of the group, as the Scarlets currently sit four points behind them. This would also put the French side in a good position to grab a home quarter-final, although they will have to make do without Webb for the time being, as Lemaitre has not yet backtracked.

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Shaylen 21 minutes ago
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If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 6 hours ago
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