Chabal to play match with minor Australian club
Updated: February 14, 2012, 19:52
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MELBOURNE, Australia(AP) Ex-France No. 8 Sebastien Chabal will play for an Australian club after his sacking by Racing-Metro, but may be limited to a single guest appearance with lower-tier Sydney team Balmain.
Balmain Rugby Club president Warren Livingstone confirmed Chabal will play in a one-off match for "The Muzzled Wolves'' on Feb. 25 against another Division Two side Petersham.
Despite intense media speculation in Australia and Europe that Chabal will join a local Super 15 team, Livingstone said in a telephone interview Tuesday that Balmain is his only Australian playing commitment.
Chabal's contract was terminated by French club Racing-Metro this month after the 34-year-old fell out with coach Pierre Berbizier.
Rumors that Chabal would join an Australian Super Rugby team intensified after he told French broadcaster RMC on Tuesday, "I'm going to play in Australia soon.''
But Livingstone said Chabal was merely referring to his match with Balmain.
"He didn't actually say that (he's playing Super Rugby). He said he's going to play in Australia. And we are the club he's playing for,'' he said. "We're organizing his flights over here and back.''
Livingstone said Balmain has been in negotiations with Chabal's management since November seeking a guest appearance with the club.
"We were trying to arrange something for between the French rugby seasons, but obviously when he got cut there was an opportunity for him to come now,'' he said.
Livingstone said the Muzzled Wolves try to lure a high-profile player to the club for a one-off appearance every year.
"Usually it's a Wallaby, but this time we had the opportunity to get Chabal and he has a massive profile,'' he said.
Chabal, nicknamed the "caveman'' because of his long hair and beard, played 62 internationals for France but was not included in its World Cup squad last year.
Various reports from Australia and overseas have linked Chabal to a move to one of the five Australian Super 15 clubs, which has never been confirmed by the Frenchman.
Established in 1873, Balmain plays in the third-tier Division Two sub-districts competition in Sydney and, according to its website, has "an emphasis on social enjoyment.''