Barrett, Penaud, the brightest stars of the 2023 transfer window

After their second world title in November 2015, the All Blacks Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Colin Slade came to settle down at Racing 92 and Pau. The Australians Adam Ashley-Cooper and Sekope Kepu took the direction of Bordeaux while the South African Duane Vermeulen moved to Toulon.

The trend changed in 2019 when, on the creation of the World Cup, the Japanese championship posed as a direct competitor to the Top 14. “In Japan, players earn more in six months than they can touch in France in one season and the competition is less physically demanding, ”explains sports agent Laurent Quaglia.

Among the Springboks, for example, while Handre Pollard and Eben Etzebeth joined Montpellier and Toulon after their world title, Pieter Steph du Toit, Malcolm Marx and Jesse Kriel made the choice of the J-League.

Which does not mean that the Top 14 has lost its power of attraction. It remains strong especially as the English championship, hit hard by the British economic crisis, no longer has the means to outbid.

One eye on Barrett, the other on Jalibert

From the end of the summer, the catalog of international players available in November 2023 began to circular. Because the negotiations for the world’s top players are being prepared in advance. As announced by RMC, Racing 92 has contacted representatives of Beauden Barrett, the opening half of the All Blacks. Is the case tied up? No. Because this very great talent (104 caps, 36 tries) has high salary expectations for a 31-year-old player. And then Racing 92, who are looking for a ten to replace Scotsman Finn Russell, are keeping tabs on how that won’t affect Matthieu Jalibert’s season with UBB but we’ll get to that.

Among the All Blacks, the thirties Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock but also the opener Richie Mo’Unga, were to be left free to monetize their CVs. For the time being, it is the right pillar Nepo Laulala who seems to have found a base in Toulouse to replace Charlie Faumuina.

While they seemed to have become hesitant at the idea of ​​betting a lot on a foreign player, the desire to score a big hit reappeared among some Top 14 presidents. “We are in a context of growth. The club has found harmony in its vision, says Bernard Pontneau, the president of Pau. “Now, we may have to find a player who will give us more in a specific position. »

“We will watch carefully”, assures Laurent Marti, the president of the UBB. “You have to be ready to move if an opportunity arises because the JIFF market is tight. »

La Rochelle, Toulouse and the UBB on the hunt for Penaud

Damian Penaud with the Blues at Murrayfield.


This is indeed one of the characteristics of the current landscape. Good players who have the label “Player from French training” are a prized commodity. All the clubs that offer leading French internationals have taken care to lock them in contractually, sometimes for a long period like Toulouse.

Only one world-class Blue is on the market today: Damian Penaud (25, 34 caps) who should not stay in Clermont. According to our information, three clubs are in the fight to sign the winger of the XV of France: La Rochelle, Toulouse and the Union Bordeaux-Bègles. Racing 92, which was in the running, seemed to fall back on Lyonnais Josua Tuisova.

And then, as we mentioned above, remains the case of Matthieu Jalibert. The UBB opener is under contract until 2025. After his clash with Christophe Urios at the end of last season, he has not publicly expressed his desire to leave but he has made it known. Has he changed his mind? He separated from his agent. Like Cameron Woki, Racing 92 would be ready to welcome him. But it seems unlikely that Laurent Marti will grant an exit voucher to a player in whom he has invested a lot.

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