Reports emerging this morning from France suggest that Toulon could be about to lose a number of key players, including powerful backrower Duane Vermeulen.

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However, the French giants have already got a replacement in their sights with New Zealand flanker Jerome Kaino in talks to join the club from the Auckland Blues – according to French rugby outlet Rugbyrama.

With the new salary cap in place in the Top14, Toulon look set to announce the departure of Vermeulen along with Ma’a Nonu and Marcel Van der Merwe.

It is believed that Vermeulen’s Springboks ambitions are also playing a large role in his departure, and it is believed he will rejoin the Stormers on a dual contract with South Africa Rugby. He has also been tipped to lead the Springboks under Rassie Erasmus.

Toulon are believed to be close to finalising a deal for Jerome Kaino with parties having reportedly agreed general terms and could complete the transfer in the coming weeks.

Kaino’s starting position with his native All Blacks has been under pressure with Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita putting in some big performances while the 81 Test cap All Black was absent in recent times.

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The 34-year-old moved to Auckland from American Samoa with his family when he was a child and played league before switching to rugby while at Papakura High School. After playing at centre and fullback as a teenager, Kaino developed into one of New Zealand’s most promising young loose forwards.

He has been capped 81 times for the All Blacks.

He will replace Vermeulen, who was recently called into the Springbok squad, having not played for his national side since June last year.

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