Saracens miss out on top target to replace Owen Farrell – report

Jared Wright
Saracens flyhalf Owen Farrell and Italy's Paolo Garbisi.

Saracens flyhalf Owen Farrell and Italy's Paolo Garbisi.

Saracens’ search for Owen Farrell’s potential replacement will continue after Italian international Paolo Garbisi’s recent move.

Farrell will leave the Premiership club at the end of the season after signing a two-year deal with Top 14 outfit Racing 92.

Garbisi to join Top 14 rivals

His pending departure has meant that Saracens have been searching the market for a potential replacement. One of the players that have since been linked with the defending Premiership champions is Italian international Garbisi.

The highly-rated 23-year-old is contracted to Montpellier until the end of the 2024/25 season but looks to have already secured a move away from the struggling Top 14 side.

However, Saracens have reportedly missed out on securing his services as he looks set to join Toulon.

L’Equipe reports that Garbisi will undergo a medical examination on Thursday, and if that concludes without a hitch, he will be joining the side with immediate effect.

The playmaker is set to ease Toulon’s concerns at fly-half and in the centres with Waisea Nayacalevu sidelined.

The Azzurri star’s Top 14 switch shortens Saracens’ options to replace Farrell after the club also ruled out a move for Paddy Jackson – who has reportedly re-signed with Lyon.

Recent reports also suggest that Saracens will not sign a fly-half to fill Farrell’s void and will entrust Alex Lozowski with the number ten jumper next season. It is also understood that Manu Vunipola could also leave the Londoners.

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Tolofua-Garbisi swap deal

Garbisi’s move to Toulon comes after hooker Christopher Tolofua made the mid-season move to Montpellier after weeks of speculation. Montpellier were in the market for a front-rower and Toulon for a fly-half leading to talks of a swap deal of sorts for the players.

While Toulon released a statement a few weeks ago denying the reports, they confirmed on Sunday that Tolofua had expressed his interest in joining Montpellier for “several weeks” and have now allowed the front rower to leave.

“He didn’t plan to leave Toulon, but he had a great opportunity. He’s 30 years old, he doesn’t have many years left to play, so he left, but that’s not the case,it has nothing to do with his ties to the club,” the hooker’s younger brother, Selevasio, told RugbyRama.

While Garbisi is set to depart Montpellier, it is reported that Springbok centre Jan Serfontein has penned a one-year contract extension at the Top 14 club.

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