Weekly roundup of France’s top 14 spots, are the World Cup winners set to join next season?

The week is a long time in the top 14, whether it’s announcing key signings, delivering discipline or updating injuries, the league never stops. Here we take a look at some of the biggest developments in the league from last week.

Race 92 is about to sign splash

The Parisians have been in the news a lot lately primarily for developments off the field rather than for their exploits on the field. Starting with the devastating health-related retirement of star center Ferimi Vakatawa that saw his career brutally cut short due to a heart condition. Then there was the signature of former England national team publisher Christian Wade who joined the club after an impressive showing for the Racing 7s. Now in an interesting turn of events, it looks like the man who gave Wade his only English title will become his new coach if he stays with the club next season. Leinster’s first coach, Stuart Lancaster, is reported to be heading to Paris to be Racing’s next head coach in a major financial move. If the reports are correct, Lancaster, who have enjoyed massive success with the Irish giants, will become head coach for the first time since leaving England.

La Rochelle rugby manager arrested

La Rochelle enters Round 4 as the last undefeated team but does so without coach Ronan O’Gara. Regarded as one of the hottest training commodities in the global game, O’Gara’s suspension comes after his team’s 23-20 win over Lyon in the first round. Despite the win, O’Gara found himself in an altercation with the match official. According to the 14 best LNR regulators, O’Gara’s actions were “on the top of the scale.” As such, he has been banned on the touchline for six weeks which means he will not be involved with his team for the next six matches. The LNR statement went on to explain why the punishment was so severe, “After taking into account aggravating circumstances (his disciplinary record), the sentence was increased by two weeks. After taking into account the mitigating circumstances (admission of guilt, conduct before and during the hearing), the sentence was reduced by two weeks. It is not yet clear how this will affect the European champions, however, an impressive coaching career so far for the former Monster and Ireland legend.

ASM Claremont on the hunt for a World Cup win in Springbok

Arguably the best prostitute in the world right now, 50-year-old Test World Cup winner Malcolm Marks will be high on almost every club’s wish list. With his contract expiring at the end of the 2023 season, Marks is rumored to be on his way to the top 14. According to the French publication, the Medi-Olympic Marx became the main target of one of the 14 best teams. Currently, reports are that ASM Clermont is leading the way in the lottery to sign Marx because they made signing a world-class prostitute a priority. Twenty-seven-year-old Marks has just entered his head and looks set to play a major role for Boxers in 2023 in France. It now appears that his trip to France in 2023 will be longer than initially planned.

All Black Stars are set to join the Top 14 in 2023

All Blacks playmaker Bowden Barrett is said to be close to signing a deal that will see him play in the top 14 players list as of next season. Barrett is currently under contract with the New Zealand rugby union until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and is set to follow in the footsteps of fellow All Black legend Dan Carter by joining Racing 92. Barrett’s signature and France international Matthew Gallibert’s signature. Several other notables from the All Blacks came out of their contract after the World Cup including Barrett’s long-time partner in linebacker Aaron Smith, legendary double-header Nybo Laulala, legendary duo Sam Whitelock and Brody Retalk as well as current Richie Muunga flyhalf. An exodus of key talent in the Southern Hemisphere suggests that the game’s global offering is nothing new, but the quality of players likely to leave the All Blacks this time around is noteworthy.

The former French coach faces a prison sentence

Former French coach and all-round rugby strongman Bernard Laporte faces the French prosecutors’ crowd this week. Prosecutors accused Laporte of showing favoritism in giving the French national shirt patronage to his close friend Mohamed Altrad. The Syrian-French billionaire owner of the current Top 14 champions Montpellier also has a six-year sponsorship deal with the All Blacks. As the trial nears its conclusion, prosecutors said they are seeking three years in prison for Laporte, one of which will be behind bars with two years of probation. Prosecutors turned their attention to Altrad and suggested that the same punishment be applied to the billionaire. The main focus in this case was the friendship of the two men and their business dealings throughout the year. One of the most notable of these was the signing of a €1.8 million deal, which made his namesake company the first ever sponsor to appear on the shirts of the French national team. The trial itself concluded today (Thursday, September 22ndsecond abbreviation ) as more information will be available in due course.

Written by Philip Bendon

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