Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has reacted badly to his sides recent form making an outrageous demand in a bid to get his team back on track.
Boudjellal has begun a battle of club versus country after demanding that his players currently out on international duties return to France immediately to make themselves available for Toulon’s next Top 14 game.
In a move that will impact a number of his players preparing for their next Rugby Championship clashes, Boudjellal has insisted that Pumas star Juan Martin Fernández Lobbe and Springboks Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha return to play Brive this weekend.
Boudjellal has threatened to not pay his stars if they refuse to return and has also issued an ultimatum, even threatening court action in France.
All three stars are with their respective squads preparing for the matches next weekend with Argentina set to host the All Blacks and the Springboks ready to host the Wallabies. But Boudjellal believes he has rights to his players this weekend and is prepared to take them to court.
“There is something that is quite simple – they defend the colours of their country and are paid rather comfortably by Toulon,” Boudjellal told French media. “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 play them. Moreover, I have to pay the players replacing them. This is a double sanction.”
Boudjellal has also taken aim at Leigh Halfpenny and has threatened to tear up Halfpenny’s contract after the Wales and British & Irish Lions star struggled to gain match fitness and is suspected of carrying the injuring when he signed for Toulon in the offseason.