Top 14: Sivivatu signs for Clermont;
Biarritz and Toulouse both suffer injury set-backs
29 March 2011
Clermont bound: All Blacks
winger Sitiveni Sivivatu
Photo: Eoin Mundow/Cleva Media
French champions Clermont
Auvergne have signed All Blacks winger Sitiveni
Sivivatu, according to reports in New Zealand.
Fairfax Media said the 43-times
capped international had agreed a two-year deal with the
French club, who had been looking for a replacement after
releasing stay-away Fijian Napolioni
transfers for 2011/12
Sivivatu is the second of the
all Blacks' current squad to announce a post World Cup move
abroad, following Blues prop John Afoa signing for Irish
club Ulster last week. More are bound to follow.
Fijian-born Sivivatu has racked
up 27 tries in 43 appearances for the All Blacks, and is
currently playing Super 15 rugby with the Waikato Chiefs.
The 28-year-old has also
represented the Pacific Islanders rugby team, scoring twice
against New Zealand in 2004. One of his team-mates from that
match was Sione Lauaki, who also went on to represent the
All Blacks and is now playing his club rugby with Clermont
Lauaki, however, has signed a
pre-contract deal to join Bayonne next season - along
with Stade Toulousain's former All Black Byron Kelleher -
although whether those deals go ahead could well depend on
the outcome of an extraordinary general meeting at the club
on April 13th.
That meeting has been called
after former France coach Bernard Laporte walked out on the
club, citing an unworkable relationship with chairman
Francis Salagoity. Laporte's resignation was swiftly
followed by that of main sponsor Alain Afflelou, with
the ensuing fallout prompting April's EGM.
Afflelou has been canvassing
for support since his announcement and is reported to be
putting together a package that would give Bayonne a budget
€16m for next
season. Should Salagoity go - and Afflelou return - it
remains unclear whether Laporte could be enticed back to the
newspaper claimed that Afflelou was interested in trying to
bring in Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel for next
season. This would be unwelcome news to the Italian Rugby
Federation after they previously announced that Brunel would
be taking charge of the national team after the 2011 World
confirmed transfer sees Exeter Chiefs youngster Josh
Matavesi join Racing-Métro 92 with immediate
20-year-old has initially signed as a 'medical joker' to
cover for the injured Argentine Juan Martin Hernandez, but
he will then take up a two-year contract from the beginning
of next season.
has come up through the ranks at Exeter and said his
decision to move to Paris had not been an easy one. "If I'm
honest I don't really want to go because of the boys and
that, but I need to play rugby if I want to improve.
Opportunities like this don't come along very often. I've
just turned 20 and playing in the Top 14 with a club like
Racing Métro is definitely something special. However, I
just have to really concentrate for the initial few weeks;
get my head down and settle in as best I can," he told
that won't be going ahead, however, is the transfer of
former Wallaby David Lyons to Toulon. High
wage demands was apparently the sticking point with the
Llanelli Scarlets player, although he remains in contact
with Stade Francais with an eye to signing for Michael
owner Mourad Boudjellal, meanwhile, has been venting
his frustration after his team's weekend loss away to
Castres. Boudjellal told Var Matin: "Here we are
spoilt children. We all live in comfort. We are nice and
friendly and don't know how to kill. Some players were ill,
absent or disappointing. They do not deserve all their wages
because they haven't been playing at the right level. If
Philippe [Saint-André] does not tell them I'll tell them
myself during the week," he said.
in France, both Stade Toulousain and Biarritz
have suffered major injury blows ahead of their Heineken Cup
showdown in San Sebastian on April 10th.
have lost club and national captain Thierry Dusautoir
after he picked up a leg injury during their 43-21 loss at
Racing-Métro on Saturday. The loss of their inspirational
leader is a serious setback for the defending European
champions, although head coach Guy Noves said Dusautoir
should return to action in no more than four weeks.
"There's a small twist of
the ankle and knee, but nothing that could raise doubts
about his end to the season," confirmed Noves. "It's too
early to know how long exactly he'll be out, but it will not
be more than one month," he added.
In light of
Dusautoir's injury Noves also confirmed that he would be
resting several French internationals for their forthcoming
away trip to Perpignan on Friday night. Noves aid Vincent
Clerc, Maxime Médard and William Servat would all sit out
the Round 23 clash, which could see Toulouse knocked off top
spot if they lose at Perpignan while Racing win at Bayonne.
focus is clearly on his club's Heineken Cup quarter-final
against Biarritz the following weekend as they seek to
defend their title.
outfit warmed up for that match with a 40-10 weekend win
against derby rivals Bayonne on Saturday - at the same San
Sebastian stadium that will be used for the quarter-final.
But the victory came at a cost for Biarritz, with
hooker Benoit August being ruled out for the rest of
the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in
his left knee.
34-year-old is likely to be out for at least six months
after an MRI scan confirmed the injury on Monday evening.
on the injury front, Montpellier skipper Fulgence Ouedraogo
has been sidelined for three weeks with a calf strain, while
Clermont Auvergne winger Julien Malzieu has already been
ruled out of his side's weekend clash with Biarritz.
Racing-Métro winger Benjamin Fall is also set to miss the
next month after picking up an injury against Stade
Toulousain on Saturday.
Stade Francais head coach Cheika has admitted his side will
not make the end of season play-offs (for a second
successive year) following their weekend defeat at
Montpellier. "It's over mathematically," lamented the former