French giants target Scotland star after talks with England duo stall

Jared Wright
England players Kyle Sinckler and Lewis Ludlam and Scotland's Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham during the Rugby World Cup.

England players Kyle Sinckler and Lewis Ludlam and Scotland's Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham during the Rugby World Cup.

French Top 14 giants Toulon have already begun their recruitment drive for next season and are reportedly interested in signing three key players.

The club is reportedly in talks with England forwards Kyle Sinckler and Lewis Ludlam, as well as Scotland back Blair Kinghorn.

Toulon target Home Nations trio

Reports of Toulon‘s pursuit of Bristol Bears’ Sinckler and Northampton Saints’ Ludlam emerged last week, with the club looking to bolster their pack.

However, according to The Rugby Paper, the Top 14 outfit have hit a stumbling block with Sinckler over his potential wage.

It states that the 30-year-old England and British & Irish Lions prop is seeking a contract worth €500k a season, a figure Toulon’s hierarchy is not willing to meet.

There are reportedly issues with Ludlam’s deal as well, with Northampton’s director of rugby, Phil Dowson, confirming that they are desperate to retain his services.

“We are desperate to keep Luds,” said the Saints boss. “He’s club captain, and he’s exactly what the club’s all about in terms of someone coming through the Academy and working incredibly hard on his game in getting to the very top level.

“We’re in negotiations at the moment and, as it stands, nothing has been formalised, so we’re going to keep pushing on that to keep him here.”

Visited Toulon

Both players are understood to have toured Toulon’s facilities while representing England at the Rugby World Cup.

Meanwhile, Toulon are targeting Scotland international Kinghorn to improve their backline stocks.

The club bid farewell to Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok Cheslin Kolbe at the end of last season, as well as full-back Gervais Cordin. Kinghorn would also offer the club options on the wing and at fly-half.

According to The Rugby Paper, the French side are far more positive about their chances of luring Kinghorn away from Edinburgh.

“We’d love to keep Blair,” Edinburgh boss Sean Everritt said when asked about the rumours.

“I’ve said before that he’s a man with immense talent. We’d like to keep Blair, and his contract is up at the end of the season, but hopefully, we can renew it.”

He added: “It’s also about what Blair wants to do. I’m sure that Edinburgh would like to keep Blair here, because it’s his home. Ultimately, it’s his decision, and hopefully, it’s going towards Edinburgh.”

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