FloRugby Roundup: Player Movement, Rumors From Camp And A Big Call

FloRugby Roundup: Player Movement, Rumors From Camp And A Big Call

Here's all the Rugby Union news and rumors ahead of Round 4 of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations, plus news from the Top 14, URC and Gallagher Premiership.

Mar 6, 2024 by Philip Bendon
FloRugby Roundup: Player Movement, Rumors From Camp And A Big Call

The skies are clearing, the evenings are lengthening and just about every top-level rugby tournament outside of the Rugby Championship is in full swing.

As ever with this point of the season, there is plenty to talk about with the Six Nations turning the corner into the final two rounds and players securing their futures with new deals or transfers.

So, without further ado, here are some of the biggest news pieces, rumors and developments from the world of rugby:


Springbok Captain Sidelined

Two-time Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok captain Siya Kolisi will have a spell on the sidelines following surgery to his hand. 

Sustaining the injury while playing for Racing 92 against Bordeaux in the Top 14, Kolisi reportedly has gone under the knife. 

French publication Rugbyrama reported that the 32-year-old will miss ‘several weeks’ but should be available before the end of the season.

Cardiff Star Departs For Premiership Return

Loosehead prop Rhys Carre will depart Welsh region Cardiff at the end of the season to rejoin the English Premiership side of Saracens. 

Confirming the news, Carre said, “It wasn’t easy to come to this decision, as Cardiff is obviously a club which means a huge amount to me. It’s my home club, the club I grew up supporting and I came through the ranks here, so I have a lot of friends in the squad. But after my previous move to Saracens was cut short, I’ve always felt I had unfinished business there. 

"I had a great year in London, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into a different environment and competition. I feel like I am performing well at the moment, and I’m really enjoying the style of play at Cardiff, so hopefully, I can continue that for the rest of this season and then at Sarries. 

"I’m hugely grateful to everyone at Cardiff - my teammates, the staff and fans - for the opportunities and support I have been given. It is a team heading in the right direction and with a lot of potential. I will give my all to that blue and black jersey for the remainder of the season and will always keep a close eye on the Arms Park.”

Gatland Drops Welsh Veterans For France Clash

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has removed experienced center pairing Nick Tompkins and George North from his team to face France at the Principality Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

Replacing the pair, who have 155 test caps between them, are Joe Roberts and Owen Watkin. 

For the 23-year-old Roberts, this will be his first start in the Six Nations. 

"There are a few changes to the team this week, as there are some players that deserve an opportunity," Gatlin said. "It will be a tough, physical challenge from France on Sunday, particularly up front. We know they will start hard, and it is about us staying in the fight, having good line speed defensively and keeping our discipline. We are looking for an 80-minute performance.”

Ulster Re-Signs Two Irish Internationals

Belfast-based Irish provincial side Ulster Rugby has confirmed the signing of Irish internationals James Hume and Tom O’Toole. 

A 25-year-old center, Hume has earned three caps for his country and came through the Ulster pathway system. 

“I’m delighted to extend my future here at Ulster," Hume said. "I love and care about this club, so I’m excited to see what the future holds.” 

Currently a member of Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad for the Six Nations, prop O’Toole said of his re-signing: 

“I’m delighted to be continuing my journey with Ulster Rugby. We have a great playing group and management. It will be an honor to contribute in part to the club’s future going forward as we enter a new chapter.”


Murmurings Of Discontent From England Camp

Two wins from three to open the Six Nations is not the worst of returns for a coach in his second season in charge. However, when you are the coach of England, with all of the resources and player talent that comes with it, the pressure always will be on you and your team following a loss. 

Adding further pressure to Steve Borthwick and his coaching staff are reports of discontent from within the England playing group. 

Speaking about the rumored issues in camp, former England stalwart Ben Youngs said on his For The Love Of Rugby Podcast:

“We have wonderful, gifted players who are great at the line and executing. They are brilliant. That makes me think that maybe they are not getting enough reps during the week. Maybe the attack isn’t the focus in the week as much as it should be because there is a new defensive system, and maybe that is taking a huge amount of priority along with the foundations of a high-kicking game. 

"Although they are talking about growing this attack, I am not sure they are getting the reps and the amount of time spent on it to fine-tune it. That’s what I am seeing. 

"We look like a team that has only run the strike plays twice in the week, and when trying to run it against an opposition trying to stop us, essentially, we came unstuck.”

Bath Rugby To Continue Signing Spree

Gallagher Premiership side Bath Rugby reportedly is on the verge of signing Leinster secondrow Ross Moloney and former All Black George Bridge ahead of next season. 

The West Country side made a major splash last season by signing Scottish star Finn Russell. 

Currently third on the Premiership table, the Johan van Graan coached side is building a seriously deep squad that is looking to compete for silverware in both the Premiership and Investec Champions Cup.

Back To The Future For Premiership Star

It wasn’t meant to go like this for Gloucester No. 8 Zach Mercer, who returned to the Premiership from the Top 14 with a place in Steve Borthwick’s England set-up in his sights. Yet following the formula of his predecessor, Borthwick has opted not to include Mercer in his plans. 

As such, the clearly disgruntled backrow looks set for a return to the Top 14, with his previous club, Montpellier, initially being reported as being interested. However, it would now appear that Toulon is leading the charge for his signature, with reports from the French media claiming they are willing to offer him a good deal and pay Gloucester his hefty transfer fee.

Schmidt It In! The First Jigsaw Piece Slots In

New Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt is set to unveil experienced coach Laurie Fisher as his new defense coach in the coming days. 

The man known as ‘Lord’ previously served as Wallabies assistant under former head coach Dave Rennie but was ushered out the door by Eddie Jones.

Munster To Poach From Northern Rivals

Reigning URC champion Munster looks set to either Billy Burns or Jake Flannery from Ulster, as they search for a replacement for Joey Carbery. 

Firmly beaten out of contention for the first-choice No. 10 shirt in Munster, the highly talented, but injury-cursed, Carbery has signed a deal to join Top 14 outfit Bordeaux next season. 

Thus, the champions will need to find an experienced backup to Jack Crowley, with young Tony Butler the only other senior fly-half on Munster’s books. 

Based on reporting, it would appear as though Burns is the front-runner to make the move down south. 

Flannery, who originally is from Munster, will be looking for consistent game time as the first choice, and as such, remaining in Belfast would appear to be a better route to more minutes. 

Burns, who is an Ireland international, will provide Munster with an experienced head that is more than capable of steering the ship when Crowley is on international duty.

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