Toulon could cancel Halfpenny contract

Date published: September 17 2014

Mourad Boudjellal has also demanded that Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha and Juan Fernández Lobbe return to Toulon or face not being paid.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has revealed that Leigh Halfpenny's contract could be terminated over his injury problems.

Halfpenny is yet to make his debut for the club due to a groin injury picked up in pre-season.

The Wales and Lions star missed the end of last season with an arm injury, but fully recovered following surgery.

However the groin problem that has kept Halfpenny watching from the stands is one that Boudjellal suspects the player was carrying when he arrived at the club.

Initially treated on a weekly basis, Halfpenny may now need surgery on his groin which could rule him out for months, much to Boudjellal's obvious frustration.

“Today, we must address this issue because we need a world-class goalkicker. We're awaiting the medical update,” Boudjellal told Varmatin.

“He should be out for another two or three weeks. But the problem that we have now is that we think he may have arrived at Toulon with that injury. Now we have the impression that yes, he was injured when he signed for Toulon.

“If this is the case, we haven't ruled out terminating his contract.

“We pay enough for players (when they're away) for their national teams. We don't feel like preparing Halfpenny for the Rugby World Cup for Wales.

“We're conducting an investigation. I will know the whys and hows this week.”

Meanwhile, Boudjellal has also demanded that Springboks Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha and Argentina flank Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe return to club or face not being paid.

The trio are currently on intrnational duty Rugby Championship, but with no Tests scheduled for this weekend, Boudjellal wants his player available in the Top 14.

“There is something that is quite simple – they defend the colours of their country and are paid rather comfortably by Toulon,” he said.

“The IRB decided the rules. That's fine but I'm not here to fund South African and Argentine rugby and I will not.

“These players will return as we need them. If they do not and we receive no fee, they will not be paid by us because they will not be present in Toulon.

“We'll see if the rules of the IRB prevail or if it is the rules of the Labour Code for French private enterprise. In any case, it is an aberration.

“We have reached a stage where we have to ask the opinion of the French law. Therefore, we will ask the French judges whether a foreign federation has the right to take my employees and force me to pay them.

“It's just unthinkable we have players who are paid very well by us but cannot not play them. Moreover, I have to pay the players replacing them. This is a double sanction.”