Out-of-favour England star Zach Mercer set for shock Gloucester departure - Ruck

Out-of-favour England star Zach Mercer set for shock Gloucester departure

In the latest transfer buzz, England’s No. 8, Zach Mercer, finds himself back in the headlines, with speculation swirling around a potential move to the Top 14 for the upcoming 2024/25 season.

Mercer, who earned accolades as the player of the year in the French league back in 2022, during Montpellier’s championship-winning campaign, has struggled to secure a consistent spot in Steve Borthwick’s national squad.

Despite initially returning to the Gallagher Premiership at the urging of Eddie Jones, with hopes of making the Rugby World Cup squad, Mercer’s international prospects have yet to materialiae as expected.

A Midi Olympique report read: “Still barred from the national team, Zach Mercer is wondering about his future across the Channel and thinks of returning to France. RCT are said to be very interested, but his club Gloucester are asking for hefty compensation.

“According to our information, the Englishman’s CV has been circulated in several Top 14 clubs. The Montpellier club would have sounded him out for a possible return, but the player would not have followed up on this request. The RCT is also said to have shown strong interest in Mercer, to the point of making him a good offer.

Zach Mercer of Gloucester Rugby on the break during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins at Kingsholm Stadium on October 14th, 2023 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK/Gallagher)

“Problem? When he signed with the Cherry and Whites, Mercer signed a long-term, three- or four-year contract. That’s why Gloucester are asking for the tidy sum of €1million to release their back-row who, as he did at Montpellier, is putting in a string of top-flight performances with Gloucester, who are still in a disappointing second-to-last place in the Premiership.

“For its part, Montpellier is also continuing its recruitment campaign. After failing to sign Australian XIII star Joey Manu and Scottish centre Huw Jones, who eventually extended his contract with his Glasgow club, the Herault club are looking to strengthen its back row.

“In this sense, the CV of another Englishman, Saracens player Billy Vunipola would be of great interest to Montpellier scouts. According to our information, a meeting between the two parties could take place in the coming days.”

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ODDS: Who could replace Steve Borthwick at Twickenham?

5. Sir Clive Woodward – 20/1

Woodward is the World Cup winning Head Coach who led England’s rugby players to World Cup glory in Australia in 2003.

A former England International and British & Irish Lion himself, prior to his full time coaching career Clive established a successful business career working for nine years with Xerox in the UK and Australia before establishing his own small finance and leasing company.

During Clive’s tenure as Head Coach England moved from 6th in the world to being the number one ranked team, winning every trophy an England team can win.

4. Rob Baxter – 12/1

Rob Baxter, who guided the Devon-based club from the Championship to European champions in 10 years has done this largely with a core of players that have come through the academy at Exeter.

With this season’s club performance not at the level of previous years, it may be time for him to move on and into the Test game in the near futuree.

Although Baxter joined the England coaching team for the summer tour to Argentina and Uruguay in March 2013, he has no experience outside of Exeter. “I would be happy to have a chat about what the role is, how they see it working and what their plans and ambitions are,” Baxter said of the England job back in December.

“Unless you know what it is, it’s hard to say yes or no to anything. At the same time, I’m not looking for another job! I’m very happy here,” he added.

Rob Baxter, Director of Rugby of Exeter Chiefs looks dejected after losing during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate on 20 May. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK