Saints stars Ma’afu and Manoa sign for Toulon

MOVING ON - Salesi Ma'afu and Samu Manoa are joining Toulon (picture: Linda Dawson)

MOVING ON - Salesi Ma'afu and Samu Manoa are joining Toulon (picture: Linda Dawson)

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Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has confirmed that Saints stars Samu Manoa and Salesi Ma’afu will join his club at the end of the current campaign.

American forward Manoa has been handed a four-year deal, with Boudjellal claiming it is the first time he has offered a contract of such length.

It is the sign of Toulon’s eagerness to acquire a player who has made 106 appearances for Saints since moving to the club from San Francisco Golden Gate in 2011.

Ma’afu has become a similarly important figure since switching to Northampton from Western Force in the summer of 2013, but he will be following his club-mate to the Top 14 giants.

“Samu Manoa is the first four-year contract that I have signed,” said Boudjellal.

“For me, he will become the star of the Top 14. He is a rugby phenomenon, made for Mayol.

“He is a player we spotted a few months ago. We contacted him and his agent said he had been approached by all the clubs in the Top 14 and England and that the only offer he could take was that of Toulon.”

Boudjellal, speaking after Toulon’s win over Lyon on Saturday, was also full of praise for Ma’afu, labelling the Australian ace “one of the best props in the English league”.

Toulon’s spending spree will also see them recruit All Blacks centre Ma’a Nonu and Clermont winger Napolioni Nalaga in the summer.