Provence haven’t given up hope that they could win the race to sign former England captain Courtney Lawes despite recent reports that Pro D2 promotion rivals Brive had emerged as the favourites to land him for the 2024/25 season.
The 34-year-old Lawes, who won 105 Test caps with England, retired from international rugby after the recent Rugby World Cup in France and is out of contract with Northampton Saints at the end of this season.
It is widely known that he has accepted an offer worth around €35,000 a month from Brive, who are hanging onto the last of six Top 14 promotion play-off places by their fingertips.
But it is understood that he is still waiting for the contract so he can complete the move, while Saints have also made him an offer to remain at Franklin’s Gardens for the rest of his career.
Brive’s package, which is huge by their standards, is the highest, while Provence, who are neck and neck with Vannes at the top of the tier-two table in France, have offered €23,000-a-month plus private school fees for Lawes’ children.
Lawes last year turned his back on the chance to move to France and instead extend his 17-year stay at Northampton for the 2023/24 campaign, but he is blunt now about doing what is best for his family.
“This will probably be my last contract,” he said recently. “You have got to do what is best for your family. I took a decent pay cut last year to stay here because I wasn’t happy with leaving on a season like that. I have got to be paid what I’m worth. I’m very hopeful that it will work out.”