Toulon: Top 14 side ask to move to Premiership

Toulon celebrate their third Champions Cup victory in a row
Toulon have won Europe's premier rugby union competition three years running

French side Toulon say they want to leave their domestic league to play in the English Premiership.

President Mourad Boudjellal emailed Premiership bosses proposing the move from the Top 14, which a spokesman said they would consider.

Boudjellal has made public his frustrations with the Top 14, related to the salary cap and bonus payments.

He told French newspaper L'Equipe: "If this is not possible the next season, maybe the one after that."

He said he was "serious in my approach" and claimed the move would give the Premiership "huge added value".

The Cote d'Azur club have risen up the French leagues under Boudjellal's reign to become multiple European champions.

Any switch would require the approval of the French Rugby Federation and the Rugby Football Union, the governing body for rugby union in England, which said it had not been contacted by Boudjellal.

Rugby union is familiar with cross-border competitions, with Italian clubs playing in the Pro12 league against Welsh, Irish and Scottish opposition.

In the southern hemisphere, the Super Rugby tournament features teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It will include sides from Argentina and Japan for the 2016 season, which starts in February.

However, given the complications of any move, informed observers of the game say it appears unlikely to happen.

Salary cap could be a problem

Top 14 clubs have a larger salary cap than those in England, at 10 million Euros (£7.7m) compared to £5.1m.

However, the 12 Premiership clubs will see their cap rise to £6.5m per club for 2016-17 and £7m for 2017-18.

The extra money that French clubs are allowed to spend on salaries has enabled them sign some of the game's biggest stars.

Among them are World Cup-winning All Blacks Dan Carter (Racing 92), Ma'a Nonu (Toulon) and Conrad Smith (Pau), plus South Africa's 2007 world champion winger Bryan Habana (Toulon).

Former England number 10 Jonny Wilkinson, Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton and New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams have also played Top 14 rugby in the past.

Cooper chases Olympic spot

Toulon have agreed to release Quade Cooper for three rounds of the Sevens World Series as the Australian targets the Rio Olympics.

The 27-year-old fly-half will compete in Sydney (6-7 February), Paris (14-15 May) and London (21-22 May).

"As a rugby player growing up, you never think you'll have the chance to play at an Olympics," said Cooper.

The international, who has won 58 caps for the Wallabies, added: "I'll be doing everything I can to make the squad."

For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter.

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