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Toulon

Bakkies BothaSpringbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has tweeted an X-ray showing nine steel pins inserted into a plate in his broken arm.

The Springbok and Toulon lock successfully underwent an operation to have a plate inserted in his arm after he broke it in Toulon’s 23-10 Top 14 defeat against Brive.

Botha is expected be out for two-and-a-half months, and he has indicated that his rehabilitation is on track.

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Bryan HabanaSouth African star Bryan Habana scored a try on his return to action after a three-month absence because of a hamstring injury as Toulon beat Bordeaux-Begles 22-20 in a thrilling Top 14 encounter on Saturday.

The 30-year-old – a World Cup winner in 2007 – touched down in the 66th minute as Toulon came from 20-9 down to prevail, largely thanks to 14 points from Frederic Michalak.

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Heineken CupThe tug of war regarding the premier club competition in European rugby has been conducted very publicly for a long time and a week ago it was reported that an announcement on the structure of future competitions was imminent. However, it all seems to have gone quiet and no final announcement has been forthcoming.

There are rumours that the Italian clubs and their representative bodies were needing to discuss a few details of what should otherwise be a done deal. Furthermore there is the question of the broadcasting battle between Sky and BT Sport which is apparently in the process of being sorted out with a joint broadcast agreement likely for next season. The final rumour is that the parties involved may not have wanted to make any announcements this week in the lead up to the quarter finals of the current Heineken Cup competition.

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Jonny WilkinsonEnglish rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson celebrated his 100th match in the Top 14 in suitable fashion on Sunday as he kicked all of European champion Toulon’s points as they secured a 15-9 win at relegation-threatened Bayonne.

The 34-year-old landed four penalties and one drop goal to give Toulon only their second away win in eight away matches this campaign and consolidated their place in the top six places for the post-season playoffs – they are five points ahead of seventh placed Toulouse.

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Rory KockottFrench champions Castres’ scrumhalf Rory Kockott told Canal Plus on Saturday he had changed his mind over a move to Heineken Cup champions Toulon and wished to remain at his present club.

The 27-year-old South African – the Top 14 player of last season after finishing leading points scorer – said that despite signing a pre-contract with Toulon he had decided it was a move not in the best interests of him or his family.

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Heineken CupAmlin Challenge CupRound 6 of the European Cup, which includes the Heineken Cup (Premier Competition) and Amlin Challenge Cup (secondary Qualification Competition) happened this past weekend and there was high drama and lots of action!

Sunday evening the full puzzle of who plays where in the Play-Off’s of both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge cup was revealed.

In the Heineken Cup, Ulster will host Saracens, ASM Clermont Auvergne will host Leicester Tigers, whilst the defending champions Toulon will host Leinster and Munster will host Toulouse at Thomond Park. The Quarter-finals will take place on the weekend of 4 to 6 April.

In the Amlin Challenge Cup Northampton Saints, Harlequins and Gloucester have booked their spots in the Quarter-finals along with the amlin Challenge Cup Pool winners Bath, London Wasps, Stade Francais, Sale Sharks and Brive.

Bath will host Brive, London Wasps will host Gloucester, Stade Francais host Harlequins and Sale Sharks will host Northampton Saints.

The race to these Cup winners will be interrupted by the Six Nations tournament, which takes place from 1 February 2014.

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Heineken CupIt is crunch time in Europe’s premier club tournament, as we enter Round Five of the Euro Cup.  The build-up this week may have shone the spotlight on the heavyweight Anglo-French clashes – between Toulouse and Saracens, and Harlequins and ASM Clermont Auvergne – but two other French giants will also be in crucial matches.  Defending European champions Toulon host Cardiff Blues in Nice on Saturday, while French champions Castres  are at home to Leinster on Sunday.

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ERC French rugby is currently full of news regarding player movements and player contract offers and extentions.

Toulouse has offered South African prop, Schalk Ferreira a 3-Tear extention to his current deal after some outstanding performances by him. Toulon has extended Deon Armitage’s contract for 2 years whilst Maxime Mermoz has signed on till 2017.  After some speculation about Jonny Wilkinson’s possible retirement, it appears he might want to continue on at Toulon for another year.

Tommaso Allan, Italian international flyhalf, has also won him a contract extention with Perpignan.

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ChiefsToulonThe proposed exhibition match between Super Rugby champions the Chiefs and European Cup champions Toulon will not take place this season.

The Chiefs released their pre-season schedule on Friday, which sees them face the Reds and the Blues and not Toulon after both teams failed to get clearance from their national bodies.

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ToulonChiefsThe New Zealand Rugby Union, via the All Blacks coaches, high performance unit and player’s association, look to have given the green light for the Chiefs to head to France in February to play Toulon.

The fixture, now looking increasingly likely to go ahead, will see for the first time the Super Rugby winners play the European Cup champions.

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Craig BurdenWhilst it is already old news that Craig Burden was planning a move to French giants, Toulon, it has now been confirmed that he has been signed by European champions Toulon as cover for the injured Sebastien Bruno.

The 28-year-old uncapped Springbok, who has played at the Sharks since 2006, could make his debut in the European Cup next weekend.

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