Report: SA franchise considering breaking the bank for Savea

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 8 April 2019, 8:23PM
Julian Savea is unwanted by his French team Toulon. (Photo / Getty)
Julian Savea is unwanted by his French team Toulon. (Photo / Getty)

Struggling South African rugby outfit the Kings are reportedly willing to offload as many as 20 players from their roster in an effort to land former All Black Julian Savea.

South African Sunday newspaper Rapport claims Savea is top of the wishlist of the Kings' new high-performance director Robbie Kempson as he seeks improvement in the European Pro14 competition.

The Kings, who were axed from Super Rugby in 2017, have been the competition's wooden spooner - winning only three matches in their first two seasons.

Savea, who scored 46 tries in 54 tests for the All Blacks before joining Toulon last year, has fallen out of favour at the French club and has been publicly criticised by owner Mourad Boudjellal.

In February the comic book tycoon told French radio RMC he would "ask for a DNA test" for Savea following the 28-year-old winger's poor form for the club.

"They must have swapped him on the plane [when he joined from the Hurricanes last year]. If I were him I would apologise and go back to my home country," Boudjellal said.

"I've told him that he was free to go and wasn't welcome at Toulon any more."

According to Rapport, negotiations between the Kings and Toulon started over the weekend - shortly after the clubs announced they had agreed on a memorandum of understanding, which will see a close working relationship between them.

Savea is in the first season of a two-year deal at Toulon and is reported to be earning $1.65 million per season.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) recently confirmed a new majority owner for the Kings after a main sponsor was also announced late last year.

Following Boudjellal's comments, the Saveas claimed they received online threats made to their one-year-old daughter Jude in Toulon.

Fatima Savea said on social media she feared for her family's safety in the aftermath of the public scolding her husband received.

"Who would have thought that I'd feel like my life and my daughter's life might be at risk going back to Toulon with the amount of threats and hateful messages I have received from angry fans," she wrote on Twitter.


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