Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has launched a scathing verbal attack on the club’s struggling marquee signing Julian Savea.
The former World Cup-winning All Black joined the elite French club late last year, but is struggling to make the immediate impact Boudjellal evidently expected.
Savea has scored just two tries in 16 appearances for Toulon. He was ineffective again this weekend when Toulon slumped to a shock 19-10 defeat against minnows Agen.
In the aftermath of that result, Toulon’s 10th league defeat in 16 games this season, Boudjellal lashed out at Savea.
‘I’m going to ask for a DNA test, this isn’t the Savea that we signed. They must have changed him on the plane. He has one year left on his contract, but I’ve told him that he was free to go,’ Boudjellal ranted.
‘He can do what he wants, but he is not welcome at Toulon anymore. If I were him I would apologise and go back to my home country.’
Boudjellal also hit out Toulon’s 22-year-old French international Anthony Belleau, who has struggled for form in recent weeks.
‘I can see why he isn’t starting for France given his current level. Some players are average because they want to leave and others because they won’t be as well paid anywhere else. A lot will be let go.’
Savea released a short statement in response to Boudjellal’s comments, saying he will see out his contractual obligations whether he is welcome or not.
Putting all the negativity behind me and heading into this week with a positive attitude??whether I am welcomed or not I am still contracted to my team and I will continue to train week in and week out with my brothers #endofstory #letsmoveon pic.twitter.com/y7QBqLOyVV
— Julian Savea (@juliansavea7) February 17, 2019
Former Wallabies and Toulon stalwart Drew Mitchell sided with Savea and criticised Boudjellal’s bizarre behaviour.
Business or not you just don’t treat ppl like this.
— Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) February 17, 2019
Classy response mate!!@juliansavea7
— Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) February 18, 2019