Soaring budgets and salaries make France the money capital of the European game
“The language is very important,” the former Stade outhalf, just moved to Worcester, said. “I don’t know him very well but if he has any French it’s obviously a definite help in communicating with the team and directing them around the park.
“But you can pick the rugby language up quite quickly and obviously in terms of plays and patterns, each club has their own language. So wherever he goes, he’s got to learn a new language to some extent.
“Their focus over there in that position is certainly kicking and controlling a game. He does that quite well and he’s going to have a very good team around him if he did go there (Racing Metro).”
French-based players and owners face fines of €50,000 if they discuss transfer details directly before the transfer market officially opens, so all will become clear on April 20th.
Six Irish players who went abroad
(London Irish) 1995-2000
French foreign legion
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal’s marquee signing in 2009, Wilkinson is reportedly earning up to €1 million a year when image rights are included. A hugely popular signing, the World Cup winner’s contract expires at the end of the season but he could yet stay.
The 33-year-old earns considerably more than two of Toulon’s more recent big-name signings, French international Freddie Michalak (reportedly €700,000 per year) and the Australian Matt Giteau (€600,000).
The New Zealand international is said to have turned down a bigger offer than Sexton to move to to France a few years ago.
He did eventually sign a six- month, €700,000 deal with Perpignan five years ago, but injury meant he played just a handful of games. Earlier this season he was linked with a return to the Top 14, with Racing Metro rumoured as a possible destination.
The South African wing is set to join the foreign legion at Toulon by signing a three-year deal in April.
The 2007 IRB player of the year will join a host of other highly-paid internationals at the club including England’s Delon and Steffon Armitage, Argentina’s Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, New Zealand’s Carl Hayman and Chris Masoe and fellow South Africans Bakkies Botha and Joe Van Niekerk.