Rugby Transfers: Springboks back decides future, next SBW targeted by French giants, Hooper extends

Jared Wright
Sale Sharks back Robert du Preez and Sydney Rooster's star Joey Manu.

Robert du Preez, Joey Manu and Tom Hooper feature in our latest transfers' update.

Sale Sharks have moved to extend the contract of Robert du Preez while Racing 92 are hot on the heels of a rugby league star, and the Brumbies have announced a key re-signing.

In our latest rugby transfers and rumours, we take a look at two re-signings and the rugby league star that is attracting interest in France.

Du Preez re-signs

One-Test Springbok back Robert du Preez jnr has signed a contract extension with the Sale Sharks keeping him at the Premiership club for the next seasons at least.

The 30-year-old initially joined Sale on loan in 2018 before making the move from the Durban-based Sharks permanent the following year.

He has since racked up 134 appearances for the Premiership outfit, scoring almost 800 points in the process.

While he started his career out as a fly-half, he has regularly featured at inside and outside centre for Alex Sanderson’s side and said that it was an easy decision to extend his contract with the club.

“I’m massively excited to be a part of this group for the next two seasons,” he said.

“I was already committed for next season, but when I was offered an extra year it was an easy decision. My wife and I have loved our time in Manchester.

“I truly believe that with the group of players we have going forward, we have what it takes to win something in the next couple of years, and to be a part of that is really exciting.

“I look forward to making more memories on and off the field with Sale Sharks and in Manchester.”

Robert’s re-signing means that all three du Preez brothers – Jean-Luc and Dan – are contracted to the Sharks for the next two seasons.

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Racing 92 swoop for the next Sonny Bill Williams

Syndey Rooster star Joey Manu has confirmed that his rugby union code switch will not be a short-term one as he links up with ex-All Blacks boss Sir Steve Hansen at Japanese Rugby League One side the Toyota Verblitz.

Manu has signed a one-season deal with Hansen’s side, and while many hoped that he would return to the Roosters after that stint, he has confirmed that this is not the case.

“I highly, highly doubt it,” he told reporters when asked if he could be back at the Roosters in 2025.

“Maybe somewhere longer (down the road). I probably need a little bit more than six months over there. Going to Japan is a good experience for myself and my family. Just enjoying something different.

“Six months over there is just learning the game. That’s the next step that I want to take. I really want to do my best in rugby union. I feel like I’ll need a bit longer than six months. But we’ll see how it goes.”

There has already been reports that New Zealand Super Rugby teams are lining up to sign the Roosters’ star for the 2026 season but they look set to be battle French clubs for his signature.

According to a report by French publication Midi Olympique, Racing 92 are close to finalising a deal with Manu to link up with the Top 14 club for the 2025/26 season.

Stuart Lancaster already has the world-class talents of Gael Fickou and Josua Tuisova in his ranks and could add the NRL superstar to his impressive depth in the position, particularly with Sam James, who is also lined up for a move to Paris.

The 27-year-old New Zealander has already been mentioned as a potential All Black but a move to France would prevent him from playing for his country.

Rugby Transfers: Stuart Hogg completes retirement U-turn, Vunipola ‘in advanced talks’, Lancaster recruits son

In an interview in April, Hansen likened Manu to successful code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams who won two World Cups with the All Blacks in 2011 and 2015.

“It’s no different to what we did with Sonny. Joey and Sonny are excellent athletes, and there’s no reason he can’t be a similar success,” the former All Blacks boss told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The best thing about Joey is he’s doing this for the right reasons. He wants to come to us [Toyota Verblitz] to learn how to play the game.

“He’s so talented, there are no two ways about it. He seems to make the right decisions at the right time. He has a very good work ethic, and in all my dealings with him so far, he’s also a good character.”

Tom Hooper extends

Meanwhile, Rugby Australia and the ACT Brumbies have been boosted by the re-signing of star flanker Tom Hooper who has signed a contract extension through to the end of 2025.

The abrasive back-rower enjoyed a breakout year in 2023 when his Super Rugby form was rewarded with a Wallabies squad selection and Test debut against South Africa in Pretoria.

He sustained a shoulder injury on debut and missed Australia’s next Test match but would start the next seven successive matches, including their four pool matches at the Rugby World Cup.

An ever-present fixture in the Brumbies loose trio, Hooper helped the side reach the Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals this year and is likely to be involved with the Wallabies under new head coach Joe Schmidt.

“I’m stoked to be sticking around in Canberra for at least another year,” Hooper said.

“It definitely feels like home for me here and I’m desperate to be part of a successful Brumbies team.

“I know I have a lot of growth in me both on and off the field and I’m highly motivated to do everything I can to be part of the major events on the horizon here in Australia.”

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