French Top 14 club Montpellier have not been one to shy away from big-name South African signings in recent seasons and it seems Northampton Saints scrum-half Cobus Reinach is the latest to catch their attention.
The club has brought in players such as Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Francois Steyn, Johan Goosen, Jan Serfontein, Handre Pollard and Lizo Gqoboka under previous head coaches Jake White and Vern Cotter and that trend does not look to be reversing under new coach Xavier Garbajosa.
Under the ownership of billionaire Mohed Altrad, Montpellier have not been afraid to splash the cash over the last five or so years. They lost scrum-half Ruan Pienaar in the summer, with the former Ulster stalwart making the move back to South Africa and the Cheetahs.
Although they brought in the 37-year-old Kahn Fotuali’i, the club seem to be in the market for a more long-term option at the position.
According to a report in Midi Olympique, that player could well turn out to be Reinach, whose standout season for Saints in 2018/19 not only caught the attention of clubs throughout Europe but also Rassie Erasmus, as the South African head coach included him in his recent World Cup-winning squad.
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The report suggests that Montpellier would be willing to pay him close to £500,000 a year to leave Franklin’s Gardens and make the move to the south of France. It’s a switch which would reunite him with a number of his current and former teammates in the Springboks, such as Pollard and Steyn.
Montpellier are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2018/19 season where they finished sixth in the Top 14. Their large selection of players away on recent international duty has not helped them hit the ground running this term, as they sit seventh in the table after eight rounds of matches.
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Reinach’s current club, on the other hand, are flying high in the early stages of the Gallagher Premiership, with Northampton the only team to record three wins from their opening three games.
Director of rugby Chris Boyd has Saints looking like a formidable challenger to Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, but they would be hard-pressed to match the sort of salary that Montpellier have reportedly offered the scrum-half.
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