In what would be an early Christmas present to fans, Top 14 side Toulon are expected to confirm that New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock is set to join the club on a two-year deal after next year’s World Cup, at a press conference on Thursday, December 13.

A festive announcement ‘gift’ has become something of a tradition at Toulon, which is also reportedly close to agreeing a deal with All Black team-mate Nehe Milner-Skudder, according to reports in France. In fact, a double-wrapped Christmas package from New Zealand could be in store. The 2015 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year’s deal may even be confirmed alongside Whitelock’s, reports suggest.

According to French sports newspaper L’Equipe, Whitelock decided to reject a new deal from NZRU to make the move to France’s Mediterranean coast, following a meeting with Toulon recruitment representative Laurent Emmanuelli in Pretoria, South Africa, in October.

Whitelock, at least, is expected to be confirmed by president Mourad Boudjellal at a press conference on Thursday, where the club is expected to also announce major development plans for its training centre at Berg.

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