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'He'll be the right man': Bok headlines French club takeover

NEWS: Flip van der Merwe was revealed as the new president of struggling second-division side Biarritz on Friday as part of a takeover that also includes the club’s former players Shaun Hegarty and Marc Baget.

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The Basque club, the home of Serge Blanco and once one of the top sides in France, slipped out of the Top 14 in 2022 and currently lies 14th in the 16-team ProD2, perilously close to the relegation zone.

New Zealand-born Hegarty, who played for Biarritz during their championship-winning years of 2005 and 2006, confirmed the sale for a symbolic one euro at a press conference.

“The club was in difficulty and we had to act, we couldn’t let Biarritz go under,” he said.

Hegarty also said that Van der Merwe, who played 36 times for the Springboks before joining Clermont between 2015 and 2019, would take over as president from Jean-Baptiste Aldige who has been at the helm since he and owner Louis-Vincent Gave bought the club in 2018.

“I’m convinced he’ll be the right man to replace Jean-Baptiste, he’s very well recognised in the rugby world,” said Hegarty, 40, who also went on to play for Bayonne and Narbonne.

Following his retirement Hegarty set up a travel agency with his old teammate and friend Federico Martin Aramburu and was with him when the former Argentina centre was shot dead in a Paris bar in March 2022.

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