Racing 92 announce 'two premium signings' from Australia

Racing 92 announce 'two premium signings' from Australia

Racing 92 has confirmed it has inked a deal for "premium" Australia utility back Kurtley Beale from the Waratahs on a two-year-deal.

Beale, 31, who has scored 156 points in 92 Tests, will join Paris-based Racing next season along with compatriot Luke Jones, a second-row forward currently at the Rebels having previously played in the Top 14 with Bordeaux-Begles.

"We've tried to mix youth and experience in positions where we haven't managed to pull through from our academy," sporting director Yannick Nyanga said.

"We have two premium signings who will bring some experience and their ability," he added.

Beale will add his free-flowing vision to an already flair-filled backline which includes influential fly-half Finn Russell as well as clinical wingers Simon Zebo and Teddy Thomas.

Jones arrives as a replacement for Fiji's Leone Nakarawa, who was sacked in December after returning late from the Rugby World Cup.

Tonga prop Ben Tameifuna and former France full-back Brice Dulin are among the players to leave the side with Dulin joining Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle.

Former New Zealand back-rower Chris Masoe will leave his position as Racing defence coach, to be replaced by ex-France hooker Dimitri Szarzewski.

"He's very charming and has a strong connection with the club. We thank him for what he's done for the club and wish him the best for the future," head coach Laurent Travers said.

The 2016 Top 14 champions also said Scotland's Russell as well as France pair Boris Palu and Maxime Machenaud had extended their contracts.

Meanwhile, French Top 14 clubs could boycott next season's European Champions Cup if they are stopped from having eight sides in the competition, newspaper Midi Olympique has reported.

The league wants an increase from the usual six outfits in the top-tier continental competition so record 20-time French champions Toulouse, who were seventh in the table when the Top 14 was declared over in April, and Montpellier who were eighth, can feature in it.

The EPCR, who run both the Champions Cup and second-tier Challenge Cup, are considering reform for next season due to issues regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Options include increasing the main tournament from 18 to 24 teams, which is the preferred solution for French sides, but the English Premiership and the Pro14 also have unresolved problems with both leagues postponed.

"We have particularly attractive formats available to us to do it. We will adapt in the common interest," EPCR president Vincent Gaillard told the paper.

This term's Champions Cup has been put on hold at the quarter-final stage due to Covid-19.


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