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Two France internationals among 7 Racing 92 signings before new season

By Josh Raisey
Romain Taofifenua of France looks on after the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and Italy at Stade Pierre Mauroy on February 25, 2024 in Lille, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Racing 92 have confirmed the deals for France loosehead prop Demba Bamba and lock Romain Taofifénua from Lyon ahead of next season.

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The French pair are two of seven signings for Stuart Lancaster’s side ahead of the new season, which begins in September, one of which is his son Dan from Championship winners Ealing Trailfinders.

Lancaster is not the only Englishman heading over the Channel this summer, as Sale Sharks centre Sam James has also signed for the Parisian outfit alongside former England captain Owen Farrell, who is probably the biggest transfer in world rugby during this offseason.

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The final two moves will see Chile hooker Diego Escobar arrive at La Defense Arena, as well as Stormers flanker Hacjivah Dayimani reuniting with his compatriot Siya Kolisi in the back row.

These moves had been reported gradually over recent weeks, but have been finalised by the club.

Fixture
Internationals
Argentina
13 - 28
Full-time
France
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They also confirmed the list of players who have left the club, writing on their website: “At the end of this 2023/2024 season, Racing 92 warmly thanks all the players and staff members who are leaving the club. We thank them for their involvement and team spirit under the sky and white jersey and wish them much success in the rest of their sporting and professional careers.

“Thanks to Juan Imhoff, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard le Roux, Cedate Gomes Sa, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Olivier Klemenczak, Anthime Hemery, Francis Saili, Kitione Kamikamica, Trevor Nykane, Peniami Narista, Veikoso Poloniati, Christian Wade, James Hall, Anthony Marhuenda and Yannick Nyanga.

Racing finished the Top 14 season in sixth place, and fell at the first hurdle in the knockout stages against eventual finalists Bordeaux-Begles in the quarter-finals.

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finn 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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