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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Inpho/Billy Stickland Slade is a versatile presence who has even played on the wing.
# Irish Abroad
James Coughlan may be joined by another All Black in Pau
Life is good for the Irishman in the Béarn.

LIFE IS PRETTY sweet in Pau right now.

Saturday’s bonus-point 30-15 win over Mont-de-Marsan sent the Béarn-based club 16 points clear of second-placed Perpignan at the top of France’s Pro D2, and it means they could secure promotion as early as next weekend against Montauban.

With former Munster assistant coach Simon Mannix in charge, Pau’s domination of the Pro D2 this season has been remarkable, as they’ve lost just six times in their 26 games and scored the most tries and points, as well as conceding the fewest of both.

Irishman James Coughlan has been almost ever-present throughout the campaign, starting 24 games at number eight and scoring five tries.

The 34-year-old’s reward for his form and the decision to leave home province Munster last summer will be Top 14 rugby next season and it looks like he’ll be part of a strong squad in the top tier.

Pau have already confirmed the signing of All Black legend Conrad Smith post-World Cup, while Munster openside flanker Sean Dougall is also set to join the club.

French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique is now reporting that Mannix is close to securing the services of All Black out-half/fullback Colin Slade too.

The 27-year-old is out of contract with the Crusaders later this year and while Toulon are also interested, Midi Olympique reports that Pau’s €500,000 per season offer over two or three years is the better deal available to Slade.

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There has been no confirmation of any transfer just yet, with the NZRU also looking to keep the playmaker at home, but Slade is likely to make a decision very soon.

Midol reports that Pau’s chief partner, the French multinational oil and gas company Total, will be investing far more money in the club as they return to the Top 14 for the 2015/16 campaign.

Total’s funding is set to rise from €2.5million per season to €4.5million per season.

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