Toulon to move for Dagg and Ashton?

Date published: October 18 2016

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Israel Dagg and Kieran Read of New Zealand share a laugh after winning the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

French giants Toulon are looking to Israel Dagg to replace Leigh Halfpenny should the Wales full-back decide to leave at the end of the season.

Halfpenny’s contract with Toulon expires at the end of the 2016/17-season. While the club would like him to stay beyond that, Midi Olympique reports they are bracing themselves to lose stalwarts including Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and South African star winger Bryan Habana.

If Halfpenny decides to move on, Toulon would like to replace him with Dagg, who has established himself as a winger for the All Blacks after making his name in the number 15 jersey.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal is interested in bringing Dagg and Saracens and England winger Chris Ashton to the club.

The Sun also reported on Ashton’s potential move to France. The winger is currently suspended until December for biting Northampton’s Alex Waller. He has scored 19 tries in 39 Tests for England but has not played a Test since June 2014.

World Cup-winner Matt Dawson and 1980 Grand Slam hero Roger Uttley insist they would not blame the 29-year-old for joining the French outfit.

“He knows he is not going to be playing for England — Eddie Jones is not going to pick him and it is probably a good opportunity to make a few quid,” Dawson said.

“He is good enough to play at that level and I can understand it. It would get him out of the headlines.”

Uttley added: “If he has been made a big-money offer by Toulon and thinks an England recall is in doubt, he might just decide to go and make hay while the sun shines.”

A Saracens spokesman downplayed the reports. “He (Ashton) is a contracted player with Saracens and nothing has changed in that respect.”

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