Toulon owner softens stance on Julian Savea - 'I may have been too harsh with him'

The French rugby club owner who slammed Julian Savea this year and told him he was "no longer welcome" at the club appears to have had a small change of heart about the former All Black.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has softened his criticism of Savea in a recent interview with Midi Olympique, admitting he may have been a bit too rough on him.

"At one point, it was him or me," Boudjellal said.

"Quit paying someone as much … especially at that rate. I may have been too harsh with him, but I am someone excessive and whole. I never shower with lukewarm water."

Boudjellal didn't hold back in his criticism of Savea in February earlier this year, saying he wanted a DNA test of the winger to prove it was the same player he had signed after a string of poor performances.

"I've told him that he was free to go and wasn't welcome at Toulon any more," Boudjellal said at the time.

It came after the 28-year-old struggled to adjust to French rugby and his new club.

Savea had scored 46 tries in 52 Tests for the All Blacks before he finalised his move to France late last year but in his first 10 matches at Toulon, he only managed to cross the line once before he was dropped for his form.

Since Boudjellal's spray though, Savea has continued to train and earned his way back into the starting line-up and scored a second try before the season's end.

Boudjellal has vowed to make Toulon stronger for next season after they finished 10th in this year's Top 14 with a 10-14 win-loss record.

They'll be bolstered by the addition of another former All Black in Nehe Milner-Skudder but also have a hole in the midfield to fill with the departure of a third former All Black, Malakai Fekitoa.

Julian Savea in action for Toulon.
Julian Savea in action for Toulon. Source: Photosport

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