Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top 14: Toulon interested in Juan Martín Hernández

Photo UAR
Several weeks before the start of this year's Rugby Championship Juan Martín Hernández returned to France to end his contract with Racing Métro. It saw him listed as unattached when the final Pumas squad was announced for the Rugby Championship. This may now be set to change as current French champions Toulon have been strongly linked to the player for the second half of the current season. Should it eventuate it would see Hernández playing for a third French club in what has been a decade-long career of professional rugby. 

Toulon is set to lose Australian international James O´Connor for the second half of the current season. The former Wallaby is to return to Australia to link up with the Queensland Reds for the 2014 Super Rugby season. In doing so he could return to international rugby in time to play in a second Rugby World Cup. 

With Toulon set to be without O'Connor the club is in search of a replacement. Club president and millionaire Mourad Boujellal described Hernández as a "talented, utility player without a club''. His last club, Racing Métro, is the same one that Boujellal criticized recently for failing to achieve results in either the Top 14 or the former Heineken Cup. 

The thirty-two year old Hernández joined Racing Métro in 2010 and before that played a season in South Africa for the Natal Sharks and was at Stade Français from 2003-2009. He would link up with Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe at the club and add to the vast options the club has at fly half, inside centre and fullback. Indeed despite O'Connor leaving Toulon is home to Matt Giteau, Frédéric Michalak, Maxime Mermoz, Drew Mitchell, Leigh Halfpenny and Delon Armitage.

He is set to earn his forty-sixth international cap this Saturday against the All Blacks in Napier. Should he play in the remaining Rugby Championship test matches he could then win his fiftieth test cap in November. His potential move to Toulon would see him able to play for Argentina without restriction for the tour of France, Italy and Scotland. 

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