Pro D2

Rugby Round-Up: Transfers, News And Rumours - Two Springbok Legends Retire

Rugby Round-Up: Transfers, News And Rumours - Two Springbok Legends Retire

Rugby transfers, news and rumours from the United Rugby Championship, Super Rugby, Premiership Rugby, Top 14 and international rugby.

May 12, 2023 by Philip Bendon
Rugby Round-Up: Transfers, News And Rumours - Two Springbok Legends Retire

As the world of rugby keeps revolving, here are some of the biggest transfers, rumours and news pieces from the past week in Rugby.


Marcos Alonso: Spanish Rugby’s brightest star, Alonso will depart reigning Heineken Cup champions La Rochelle for Pro D2 side Vannes based on reporting from French Rugby media outlet Rugbyrama. 

Christian Wade: Former NFL Running back and English international Wade has signed a year contract extension to remain with Racing 92, having initially impressed on a trial basis. 

Dan Lydiate: Experienced Welsh international Lydiate will depart the Ospreys for rivals the Dragons for the next United Rugby Championship season. 

Nic White: First-choice Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White will depart the Brumbies at season's end to join Western Australia Super Rugby side, the Western Force. 

Sam Johnson: Scottish international Johnson will leave Glasgow at the conclusion of this season. The 29-year-old form Queensland Reds star leaves the club having made more than 100 appearances since joining in 2015. 

Currently in a state of flux as they await a major takeover from an American consortium, Premiership side London Irish have confirmed Isaac Curtis-Harris, Facundo Gigena, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Isaac Miller, Hugh O’Sullivan, Tom Parton, Rob Simmons, James Stokes, Mike Willemse, Giosuè Zilocchi, Kyle Cooper, Logan Trotter, Louie Kirkham, Oran Murphy and Oliver Stirling would all be departing the club. 

Joining their Premiership rivals in announcing a mass exodus, the Leicester Tigers have confirmed that the following players will be departing the club: Jimmy Gopperth, Chris Ashton, Calum Green, Sean Jansen (Connacht), Kini Murimurivalu, Hosea Saumaki and Eli Snyman (Benetton). 

Ulster Rugby has announced that ten players have departed the province following their URC quarterfinal loss to Connacht. The list of departees are Craig Gilroy, Rob Lyttle, Jordi Murphy, Sam Carter, Duane Vermeulen, Gareth Milasinovich, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Rory Sutherland, Declan Moore and Frank Bradshaw-Ryan. 


Dave Kearney: Seasoned Leinster and Ireland winger Dave Kearney is reportedly set to join Major League Rugby side the Chicago Hounds from next season, having confirmed he will depart Leinster at the conclusion of this season. 

Adam Byrne: Set to join his former Leinster teammate in Chicago is Connacht winger Adam Byrne who will depart the province at the conclusion of this season’s URC. Having transferred to Connacht from Leinster last season, his time in Galway was curtailed by injuries and a lack of form. 

Joe Schmidt: Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt could be on his way back to the Emerald Isle when his contract with New Zealand Rugby comes to an end post the Rugby World Cup. Currently working as an assistant coach in Ian Foster’s All Blacks backroom team, Schmidt is rumoured to be taking over from David Nucifora as performance director. Having taken Ireland to number one in the world rankings whilst winning a Six Nations Grand Slam, as well as guiding Leinster to Heineken Cup glory. Schmidt knows Irish Rugby as well as anyone, with the Irish Independent reporting that he is the front-runner for the role. 

Luke Cowan-Dickie: England hooker Cowan-Dickie’s deal to French giants Montpellier appears to be on the rocks following a failed medical. Having reportedly missed an assessment due to a heavy night of drinking, reports are that he may now be remaining in the English Premiership. Sale Sharks’ Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said in a recent interview that the club would be interested in securing his services should he be available. Whilst his former boss at Exeter, Rob Baxter, said they would not leave him out in the cold. 

Duane Vermeulen: Springbok number eight Vermeulen is set for a return to Pretoria as a player-coach with the Vodacom Bulls, according to reports in the South African publication Rapport. Having been one of the ten players being released by Ulster, the legendary number eight’s return to Pretoria would be a coup for Jake White’s side. 


Iconic Springbok duo Morne Steyn and Bismarck Du Plessis are set to retire at the end of this season. Both men are 38-years-old and have been stalwarts of South African Rugby over the past 15-years. Having both ran out for the Vodacom Bulls in this season’s United Rugby Championship, the two men will leave the Pretoria franchise in a solid state with several youngsters coming through in their positions. 

Former Wallabies and Waratahs superstar Israel Folau will run out for a World XV against the Barbarians at Twickenham on May 28th. The now Tongan international had his contract torn up following a breach of contract with Rugby Australia in 2019. Having played 73 tests for the Wallabies and enjoyed a distinguished career in Rugby League, Folau’s departure from the sport at the peak of his powers was a devastating blow for both the Waratahs and Wallabies. Now 34-years-old, he is likely to feature for Tonga at the World Cup. 

John Plumtree is back in Durban as the head coach of the Cell C Sharks as he takes over from Neil Powell, who will return to his Director of Rugby role for next season. Having enjoyed a long stint as both a player and a coach in Durban, Plumtree’s return has been met with great enthusiasm following the Sharks' disappointing exits in both the Heineken Champions Cup and United Rugby Championship. 

La Rochelle have announced that former French international Remi Tales will link up with Ronan O’Gara’s coaching team for next season. Tales will join the Heineken Cup champions as a kicking and skills coach from Pro D2 side Mo