Super Mario: Argentine hooker
Ledesma will join Stade Francais
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media
Stade Toulousain are
close to tying up the deal to sign Australian scrum-half
The 27-year-old international
currently plays for the Waratahs and would be an ideal
replacement for Byron Kelleher, who has signed a
pre-contract agreement with Bayonne.
Burgess has made 15 appearances
for the Wallabies after serving a long apprenticeship at
club and international level under George Gregan, having
begun his club career with the Brumbies.
He made his Australian debut in
2008 but was forced to sit out the Tri-Nations later that
year due to a knee injury, although he did rejoin the
Wallabies for their Spring Tour.
Toulouse already have Argentine
international Nicolas Vergallo on their books, while
Frédéric Michalak can also play at No 9 - although the
latter has yet to agree a new deal with his home-town club.
Transfers for 2011/12
Elsewhere, Stade Francais
have confirmed that forwards coach Didier Faugeron
will be leaving the club at the end of the current campaign.
Faugeron will be replaced by Clermont Auvergne's Argentine
hooker Mario Ledesma, with the veteran international
retiring from playing to take up his new role.
La Rochelle have
announced three contract extensions with flanker Nicolas
Djebaili (two years), hooker Kevin
Le Guen (three years) and Argentine Franco
Pani (two years) all penning new deals.
Top 14 League Table 2010/11
The LNR has formally
agreed that next season's salary cap will be
€600,000 on this season's figure.
steering committee has additionally announced that this
season's ProD2 play-off semi-finals will take place on May
14 and 15, with the final due to take place on May 22.
said that Top 14 friendlies for next season can be organized
from July 1st onwards.
the aftermath of France's disappointing RBS Six
Nations there has been plenty of speculation as to who will
make up the 30-strong squad for the World Cup starting in
September. Head coach Marc Lièvremont has used 91 different
players during his three years in charge, but admitted after
their recent Italian defeat that he is back to square one.
Victory against Wales eased
some of the pain of that shock loss, but the make-up of his
squad still leaves plenty of room for speculation.
L'Equipe this week gave
its own thoughts, with few surprises in choice of forwards -
unless the inclusion of Sébastien Chabal and Louis Picamoles
raised eyebrows. However, in the back division it may have
given Lièvremont food for thought by promoting the causes of
Mathieu Bastareaud - overlooked for the November
internationals and the Six Nations - as well as Lionel
Beauxis (as reserve fly-half ahead of David Skrela), Julien
Malzieu (on the wing ahead of Yoann Huget) and Florian Fritz
(in the centres, with Aurélien Rougerie moved out wide).
It is, of course, pure
speculation at this point, but Chabal was also given backing
this week by his Racing-Métro coach Pierre Berbizier. Chabal
was one of six players dropped from Lièvremont's squad
following the Rome loss, but Berbizier tipped "Seabass" to
"If I remember correctly nobody
saw Chabal as a number eight, and then he became number
eight and now he is a pariah from the French team. For us he
remains the same at club level. We will continue to use him
as we always have [at No 8], and I hope that he will return
to his best form," said Berbizier.
England's battered Grand
Slam hopes, meanwhile, have prompted some re-evaluation
across 'Le Channel' too. While most agree that it was
inexperience which cost Martin Johnson's men their date with
glory, others have suggested some tinkering.
Former captain Martin Corry
believes Jonny Wilkinson should make the starting XV
in New Zealand, but as inside centre rather than at
fly-half, where he still backs Toby Flood.
He reckons Wilkinson's passing
and creative ability surpasses that of Shontayne Hape and
would enhance England's back-line potency. "We need someone
with good distribution skills at 12. If it's not [Riki]
Flutey they've got to start looking elsewhere. I'd like to
see Wilkinson given a go there. It's the least risky option
as he's played there before," reasoned Corry.
"I know in the past it's been
Wilkinson at 10 and Flood at 12, but I'd like to see that
reversed. We haven't got to make wholesale changes but I
think there are tactical issues. We saw in the Scottish game
that when the opposition slowed down England's ball they
didn't have the answer. If Flood wants to get the ball wide
when there's a packed midfield defence he has to hurl it
wide himself because he can't rely on his centres to do it,"