Former Scotland captain and scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw will leave Clermont at the end of the season and could end up in the PROD2 according to reports in France.
The 34-year-old's contract with not be renewed at Clermont with the club prioritising the re-signing of Morgan Parra and the reported signing of Toulouse scrumhalf Sébastien Bézy. Clermont president Éric de Cromières previously made it clear that retaining all three number nines would have salary cap implications and therefore one of them was likely to leave. He has now indicated that Laidlaw will be the one who moves on.
He explained that Parra had asked for permission to speak to other clubs.
“Morgan came to see me to say that he will stay at the club in line with the terms of his current contract”, said de Cromières. “We will have a superb pair of scrum-halves with Morgan Parra and Sébastien Bézy.”
Laidlaw has spent the last two seasons in France with Clermont, winning the Challenge Cup last year but could end up playing in the second division of France with Perpignan reportedly interested in his services.
Laidlaw led Scotland 39 times, more than any other player, and won 76 caps, before announcing bringing the curtain down on his test career after the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Perpignan currently sit in third on the ProD2 following their relegation from the Top 14 last season and unless Laidlaw has a promotion/relegation clause, he could gamble on the fact that the Catalans may not gain promotion.
Starting with 2017–18, Pro D2 adopted a playoff system identical to that of the Top 14, with the top six teams on the league table qualifying. The top two teams receive byes into the semifinals, where they will face the winners of quarterfinal matches involving the remaining four sides.
The champions will be assured of promotion to the Top 14 while the losing finalist will enter a playoff with the second-from-bottom Top 14 side, with the winner taking up the final Top 14 place.