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Montpellier

European Rugby Champions CupJake White’s Montpellier bounced back from their comprehensive loss away from home to Glasgow Warriors last week by beating fellow French team Toulouse in their final European Rugby Champions Pool 4 match on Sunday. Montpellier won a closely contested match by the narrowest of margins with a final score of 27 / 26 in their favour.

This victory for Montpellier meant that Saracens qualified for the last eight of the Cup in spite of losing their last Pool 1 match against pool winners Clermont Auvergne. The score in that match Clermont Auvergne 18 / 6 Saracens.

The 5 pool winners along with the 3 best second placed team advanced and Saracens made it through as the last qualifying with the lowest amount of points from their 6 matches (17). Had Toulouse won they would have qualified as Pool 4 winners along with Bath who won their Pool 4 match against Glasgow Warriors. Toulouse also ended the pool stage on 17 points but Saracens got through via a superior points difference, +14 versus Toulouse’s +2.

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Jake White at Montpellier

Jake White at Montpellier

World Cup winning coach Jake White has revealed that he has been asked by Montpellier president Mohed Altrad to remain on as coach of the French Top 14 side.

White, former Director of Rugby at the Sharks, was brought in to replace Fabien Galthie who was suspended on 29 December after a string of defeats.

“The president wants me to stay,” White said in an interview in l’Equipe and Midi Libre newspapers.

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Glasgow WarriorsGlasgow Warriors head to Bath this Sunday with a number of outcomes still possible in Pool 4 of the European Rugby Champions Cup with quarter-final places at stake.

The Warriors will be looking to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in their history.

Toulouse are currently top of the pool with 16 points while Bath are second with 15 and the Warriors have 14. Montpellier are out of the running for a quarter-final spot with three points.

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Demetri Catrakilis

Demetri Catrakilis

Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis is the latest player linked to a move abroad, with French club Montpellier reportedly his destination. (Also see Update below)

Montpellier, currently coached by World Cup-winning former Springbok mentor Jake White, has been linked to a host of South African players – including the Du Plessis brothers Jannie and Bismarck.

Montpellier also secured the services of Wallaby scrumhalf Nic White, who will join them next season and be reunited with his former club coach White.

According to the French media the 24-year-old Brumbies No 9, White, has – along with Catrakilis – signed a 2-year contract with the option of extending it by a further year.

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Mohed Altrad

Mohed Altrad

Montpellier president Mohed Altrad on Monday “categorically denied” reports of a deal to sign South African forwards Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis.

The brothers, various domestic media suggested, were due to join the Top 14 side after the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in November on a two-year deal.

But Altrad said: “I categorically deny these reports.”

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis as well as Duane Vermeulen will further their careers in France after this year’s Rugby World Cup, respected French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique has revealed.

According to the newspaper, the official announcement regarding Vermeulen will only be made in July.

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Jerry Yanuyanutawa

Glasgow Warriors prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa was coached by Jake White at the Brumbies

Jerry Yanuyanutawa says the Warriors will face a highly motivated Montpellier team in Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match at Scotstoun.

The French side have lost all four of their Cup matches so far, but those defeats were sustained while Fabien Galthie was in charge. Galthie was replaced by Jake White at the end of last month, and the South African put down his marker by guiding them to a 16-12 victory over European champions Toulon in his very first game.

Jerry’s knowledge of the coach is based on their season together with the ACT Brumbies in Australia and he is convinced that White is a formidable and inspirational character.

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Jake White at Montpellier

Jake White at Montpellier

Former Springbok coach Jake White’s second week in the Top 14 was the polar opposite to his winning debut.

A week after beating defending French and Europeans champions Toulon on home soil, White’s star-studded Montpellier team were brought back down to earth with a bump as they lost to 20 / 13 to minnows Oyonnax, who only avoided relegation last season on point difference.

Just a few days into his stint in France, White was forced to issue an official apology after saying he was happy to play against heavyweights Toulon because “playing in Montauban, in a field in front of five people and a dog… does not interest me.”

Following Saturday’s result, Oyonnax winger Silvère Tian – who scored two tries in the win at the Stade Charles Mathon – didn’t mince his words when celebrating, suggesting that White will be a little humbler with his comments in the future.

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Fabien GalthieMontpellier on Friday extended the suspension of coach Fabien Galthie, the former French rugby captain, with the club president saying Galthie’s management had been a “failure”.

Galthie was relieved of his duties on 29 December after a string of defeats, with South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White brought in as a consultant to take over the reins.

“The suspension is extended. I’m giving myself time to reflect,” said club president Mohed Altrad, after prolonging the initial suspension which ran until 9 January.

“I let him know my grievances,” Altrad continued.

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Montpellier’s new coach, Jake White, arrested a nine-match slide for his French club by using his tried and tested method – going back to basics.

The South African, a former World Cup-winning Springbok coach, got off to a winning start as the Top 14 strugglers beat European and French champions Toulon 16-12 at the weekend.

White was brought in as a consultant to replace the suspended Fabien Galthie in an aim to stem the tide of losses in European and domestic action.

Club President Mohed Altrad, who caused so much controversy when he called Galthie a failure, was full of praise for White.

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Jake White at Montpellier

Jake White at Montpellier

He has fought the behemoths at the South African Rugby Union, he won a World Cup, lifted the Brumbies from no-hopers to Super Rugby finalists and even stuck his head into the hornets’ nest that was the Golden Lions Rugby Union a few years ago.

Yet, Jake White believes his six-month consultancy stint with struggling French club Montpellier Hérault may just be the biggest and toughest challenge of his career.

Having arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean at the weekend, White and fellow South African Shaun Sowerby were unveiled on Tuesday as the men who would have to lift the club from the doldrums.

White will just be in a consultancy role – with head coach Fabien Galthie still in the picture, despite being ‘suspended’ for a couple of weeks – Sowerby was appointed as the club’s new forwards coach.

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Jake White

Jake White

South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White is set to be named manager of Top 14 side Montpellier on Thursday.

The 51-year-old – a two-time IRB World Coach of the Year – has signed a six month contract according to a well-informed source.

His appointment will place almost unbearable pressure on head coach Fabien Galthie as White will be the former France captain’s superior.

Galthie, who has been seen as a potential successor to present France coach Philippe Saint-Andre should he step down after next year’s World Cup, has seen his position at the club weakened with a seven match losing run dating back to October 11 which only ended in their game last Saturday with a narrow win over Toulouse.

They are presently in sixth place, the last position for the post-season play-offs, 11 points off leaders and defending champions Toulon.

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Dylan Hartley

Dylan Hartley

England hooker Dylan Hartley has rejected a mega offer from Top 14 club Montpellier to sign a new deal with Northampton.

The 28-year-old has revealed that he was given a ‘very generous offer’ by the club to move to France.

However, Hartley has opted to remain with Premiership champions Saints and outlined his reasons today.

Hartley stated that the move would have had no impact on his England career ahead of next year’s World Cup, while turning down the possibility of ‘300 days of sunshine’ was not easy.

“It’s no secret I was offered a deal to join one of the leading French sides, Montpellier, which would have been worth significantly more. But money isn’t everything,” Hartley wrote in his column in a newspaper.

“I don’t want to come across all ‘holier than thou’ over this, but I do believe the world loyalty has gone out of fashion a bit – and for me that really means something.”

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JP du Plessis

JP du Plessis

CheetahsThe Toyota Cheetahs have made another signing, luring former Melbourne Rebels and Stormers midfielder JP du Plessis back to South Africa from Montpellier.

Du Plessis, one of the most promising midfielders to emerge from Paul Roos, had a stint in rugby league with the Sydney Roosters after school before returning to Rugby Union with the Melbourne Rebels.

He made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes in the same year but returned to South Africa in 2012 and signed with the DHL Stormers.

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Patrick Cilliers

Patrick Cilliers

Brok Harris

Brok Harris

Western Province and the Stormers look likely to lose the services of props Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris.

According to reports, Cilliers is heading to French club Montpellier, while Welsh club Newport are believed to be hunting the signature of Harris.

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Andrew Nuzum

The late Kenny Nuzum’s son – Andrew

shontaynehape1

Shontayne Hape

While rugby spent the past week looking back on the glorious careers of two of its departing heroes, Jonny Wilkinson and Brian O’Driscoll, there was forensic analysis of a very different kind going on elsewhere close to the game.

Last Tuesday morning, at the Coroners Court in Dublin, it was found that a former amateur rugby player, whose family had donated his brain for research, had died prematurely because of repeated blows to the head on the field during his rugby years.

The coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, accepted evidence from two neuropathology experts, one of whom was Dr Willie Stewart, a consultant neuropathologist at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital and a world leader in the examination of head trauma of sport.

The findings were that Kenny Nuzum, a prop forward with the Lansdowne club in Dublin and a former team-mate of the legendary Moss Keane, passed away in March last year because of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In layman’s terms, punch-drunk syndrome.

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heinekencupUndefeated Harlequins and Clermont can book European Cup quarterfinals this weekend with Toulon also close to securing their spot in the last eight. English champions Harlequins, bidding to make the knock-out stages for just the fifth time, already have 19 points from four Pool Three wins and on Saturday tackle Connacht where just a losing bonus point will be enough to see them through.

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The Lions have finally announced their proposed fixtures to be played in lieu of Super Rugby participation in 2013.

The fixtures include matches from the “Lions Challenge”, as well as some friendlies against Super Rugby opposition as well as a number of international, American and European club sides.

The full media release from the Lions follows:

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