Toulon gig for Stevens?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 16 Jun 2015 at 08:49
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Various news sources, including the generally reputable Sydney Morning Herald, have run a story this morning relating to three new big name signings by French giants RC Toulon. While the names of Duane Vermeulen and Paul O’Connell are likely to attract most attention amongst South African and Irish fans respectively, it’s the third name on the list that’s sure to get the tongues wagging here.

English prop Matt Stevens, currently in the midst of a rather unsuccessful stint at the Sharks, is said to have signed a two-year deal with the reigning European Rugby Championship title-holders.

While the move has not been confirmed by the Sharks (and would need to be, since according to my information Stevens still has a year and some change left on his Sharks contract) it has been widely rumoured for some time, with the retirement of All Black Carl Hayman opening up a spot at tighthead prop on Toulon’s roster. The prospect of another club being prepared to take Stevens – who has failed to impress – off their hands would surely be something that the Sharks would welcome with open arms, so I don’t foresee any complications, assuming the interest from both club and player is genuine.

Should Stevens move on, though, the Sharks face a looming crisis at tight head prop ahead of next year’s Super Rugby competition. Jannie du Plessis has already been confirmed as leaving, while Lourens Adriaanse, who is out of contract after the Currie Cup, is being targeted by a different French club, Agen. And if we learned anything from yesterday’s Junior Springbok debacle, it’s that Thomas du Toit is a long way from the finished product as a tighthead and will definitely need a lot more time (and careful nurturing) before he’s ready to wear the number 3 jersey at senior level.

That leaves only the untested Marne Coetzee as an immediate option at 3, while Free State Vodacom Cup prop Louwrens Strydom (also untried beyond that level) was spotted training with the side on a trial basis last week.


  • Some good news at last!

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.06.15 08:54:07 by Dragnipur Reply
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  • Happy Youth Day.

    Ironic… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.06.15 08:55:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Please be true, please be true… šŸ˜‰

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.06.15 09:03:52 by Nita Reply

  • Noooooooooooo… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.06.15 09:07:56 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • If Stonehouse comes, surely Koch will follow.

    Lots of noise in EC that Stonehouse coming ro Kings

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.06.15 09:15:18 by Kabouter Reply

  • Hahaha well shame Toulon …then again if Stevens could BS world-rugby’s most famous hooker-prop…then surely Toulon is no match.

    Glad to see him go !

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.06.15 09:19:38 by The Brand Reply

  • Sonehouse will NEVER ‘work’ in the Sharks uhmmm culture !

    So please skip that idea Sharks !

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.06.15 09:21:02 by The Brand Reply

  • @The Brand (Comment 7) : if the stories are true, then the cause of the cultural problems are gone now

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.06.15 09:23:05 by Kabouter Reply

  • Rob – Thomas was monster in previous game.

    Yet like ALL props – without solid lock and flanker support – you will always suffer.

    Or in different words – a prop is as good as his lock and flanker.

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.06.15 09:25:04 by The Brand Reply

  • @Kabouter (Comment 8) : Hahahaa I’m one of those who believe a lot of ‘internal strive’ have been thus removed šŸ˜‰

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.06.15 09:26:55 by The Brand Reply

  • I have a theory that locks, props and hookers should not be allowed to play Super Rugby before they are at least 23 years old.

    With props and hookers maybe even only after they are 25.

    Those “early developers” mostly start to break-down after third year in CC and Super Rugby.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.06.15 09:30:58 by The Brand Reply

  • @The Brand (Comment 9) : England is not the same as Australia

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.06.15 09:33:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • Sad that this makes me so happy. The Rodger Smith of fowards.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.06.15 10:02:52 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • This is bitter sweet. He may not have been very successful at the Sharks but with him leaving it does put us in a predicament.

    Jeez, there is so much that the Sharks need to sort out and work on before next year’s new SR comp. Talk of a new “coaching setup”, perhaps a few more signings. What can we expect during this year’s CC? Will it serve as a training / testing ground? Little nervous and excited at the same time.

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.06.15 10:21:06 by Farlington Reply

  • Stevens is a big signing for Toulon. Very “big” šŸ™‚

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.06.15 11:01:43 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 15) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.06.15 11:22:48 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Do their scouts not watch him play … haha … good for the man

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.06.15 11:28:00 by byron Reply

  • The Bokkies got owned in the set piece yesterday jeeeslike!

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.06.15 11:46:19 by Sharkfinn Reply

  • Good to see “rest in the scrum Stevens” going….but we need some senior depth there asap

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.06.15 11:47:19 by Sharkfinn Reply

  • @Sharkfinn (Comment 18) : Well playing with 7 forwards for 20 minutes straight killed us.

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.06.15 12:29:57 by Dragnipur Reply
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  • @Sharkfinn (Comment 19) : Agreed…

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.06.15 12:32:13 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Dragnipur (Comment 20) : Yes…plus some illegal scrumming by the poms…

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.06.15 12:32:48 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Couldn’t we convince one of Van Dyk, Herbst, or Mienie to return home?

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.06.15 14:18:51 by Here be dragons Reply

    Here be dragons
  • @The Brand (Comment 11) : Ever heard of a prop called Os du Randt won two W/C eight years apart.

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.06.15 16:20:12 by The hound Reply
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    The hound
  • Sorry make that 12 years apart first one aged 22,third one aged 34 and he played the entire 80 minutes in both.

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.06.15 16:23:49 by The hound Reply
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    The hound
  • They also bought Thor. Doesn’t add up why not buy a decent prop if you are going to head hunt high profile forwards?

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.06.15 17:25:11 by coolfusion Reply

  • Il admit i was very envious of the prop depth stormers had this yr, frans malherbe and vincent koch at TH, and steven kitshoff and oli kebble. And alister vermaark ready to step in if needed. Those are some solid options,nice balance of youth and experience. Though they are loosing steven kitshoff after the world cup

    thats as close to a ideal situation that the stormers had, nothings perfect but wow were they well prepared

    good props are tough to come by. But tht doesnt mean we should play people into the ground, or keep them until they are past their prime. They days of being able to have a passenger on the team just to scrum are over, Os durant was the last to do that effectively. Jannie been trying to bring it back for the past 4 yrs.

    Bulls prop situation actaully wasnt all that bad if u take dion greyling out, they have a bunch o solid options

    which of the following young props we let go were TH’s ? Danie minie, max van dyk, allen dell ? They could all have been loose heads could they. We could always steal two back from the cheetahs.

    Anyone got brain mujati’s number ? We could get him from racing metro, he can play i tell you

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.06.15 19:13:38 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @The hound (Comment 24) : with a retirement in between…..

  • Comment 28, posted at 16.06.15 19:57:25 by JD Reply
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  • Man, Lambie’s injury has taken longer than expected. I really hope he will be ready in time!

  • Comment 29, posted at 16.06.15 20:00:37 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Well they sorted the skill level of Burden so maybe they just have better coaches that can get better performances from players.

  • Comment 30, posted at 16.06.15 20:03:17 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 30) : Strange how players get better when they go euro. Says something about our coaching talent in SA. Maybe we need a coach the coaches program. Abundance of player talent bit a severe lack of coach and management skills. Also seems like injury is handled better overseas maybe it’s just me.

  • Comment 31, posted at 17.06.15 07:48:36 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 31) : And yet we managed to beat Toulon (the then European Rugby Championship Cup holders) in a preseason game, in France in the middle of winter with a team that did not have a “coach” or had yet practiced any defensive plays yet.

  • Comment 32, posted at 17.06.15 08:20:16 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 32) : That was a very second string Toulon team, who were on a break due to the Six Nations. I don’t know how much we can read into these games, although I was happy to get the win.

  • Comment 33, posted at 17.06.15 09:09:34 by StevieS Reply
  • Stevens leaving would be a nice pay day for the Sharks and a good return for a player that really hasnt performed at all well. The problem however is who is left?? As England showed the Baby Boks if your scrum gets shunted every time then you arent going to get anywhere…and we all know how many times the Sharks drop the ball so there will be plenty scrums. At the moment Chadwick, Adriaanse and Du Toit are still pretty average and will give away more penalties than go forward ball…its harsh but true. There are no good juniors ready to step up so open that cheque book Mr Smit unless you want 2016 to be 2015 on repeat

  • Comment 34, posted at 17.06.15 09:10:31 by SheldonK Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 33) : Toulon played the previous 4 weekends, they werent on a break yet. There were more than enough internationals, and players that played the previous week in that team to be called a second string team.

  • Comment 35, posted at 17.06.15 09:54:20 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Really not sure what Toulon have seen in the few appearances Stevens made for us, but thank you for taking him off our hands none the less šŸ˜‰ Will be interesting to see who will replace him.

  • Comment 36, posted at 17.06.15 10:26:01 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @RedSharkUtd82 (Comment 36) : Maybe he was the prize for the losing team in that preseason game in which we beat Toulon.

    No offense Matt, all said in jest.

  • Comment 37, posted at 17.06.15 10:39:44 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 37) : that was a top comment šŸ™‚

  • Comment 38, posted at 17.06.15 10:40:46 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 37) : ROFL šŸ˜† :mrgreen:

  • Comment 39, posted at 17.06.15 10:50:54 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • Whatever the case. Bye Matt don’t let the barn door hit you on the geriatric hind quarters on the way out!

  • Comment 40, posted at 17.06.15 16:08:10 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 32) : I recall that game and also recall comments from toulon coaches before and after saying it’s just warmup and they were not risking players by going at it too hard even during the game….so I doubt they had a huge commitment or stake in that. A bit like the wp commitment in our last game. So bad example I think. Plus we barely scraped it against an uncommitted side.

  • Comment 41, posted at 17.06.15 16:11:10 by coolfusion Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 33) : Plus then publicly said before the game during and after they would not commit too much. So ja…not much there I agree.

  • Comment 42, posted at 17.06.15 16:12:22 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 41) : Where did you hear that about their committment, I never read it anywhere but would love to read it now. Do you also remember how pissed off their owner, Boudjellal was with the result. Im not saying this was a full on balls to the wall game but to make it out as a nothing game is also pushing it.

  • Comment 43, posted at 17.06.15 16:48:08 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 37) : šŸ˜† :mrgreen:

  • Comment 44, posted at 17.06.15 19:42:13 by pastorshark Reply
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