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After saving Top14 spot, Montpellier promote Caudullo to coach

NEWS: Billionaire-backed French club Montpellier on Tuesday promoted their former hooker Joan Caudullo to replace coach Patrice Collazo who was relieved of his duties the day before.

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Caudullo, 42, who was in charge of the training centre, will have two other former Montpellier stalwarts as assistants. Former scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue joined the coaching staff late in 2023, and former centre Geoffrey Doumayrou ended his career on Sunday as the club edged a playoff to retain their top-flight place.

“The staff is made up of Montpellierains. Joan Caudullo will be the head coach, it’s a big challenge,” club president and owner Mohed Altrad told a press conference.

Collazo, who took over in November, could not keep the club out of the Top14 bottom two but guided them to a 20-18 relegation playoff win at Grenoble on Sunday.

Altrad also confirmed the arrival next season of Scotland international fullback Stuart Hogg, Congolese wing Madosh Tambwe from Bordeaux-Begles, and the return of international prop Mohamed Haouas, who has been beset with legal problems, from second-division Biarritz.

Disgraced former French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte, who was once tipped to become deputy chairman, will retain his position as director of rugby, which he has held since November 19.

“He’s not here to coach, but to contribute his considerable experience,” said Altrad.

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Montpellier’s squad includes two-time World Cup winner Cobus Reinach and All Blacks wing George Bridge.

The southern outfit has been linked with former England forwards Mako and Billy Vunipola for next season.

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