Top 14 Orange
Charteris set for Perpignan switch
Ian Moriarty
December 5, 2011
Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales lock Luke Charteris, October 8 2005
Luke Charteris looks set to join James Hook next season © Getty Images
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Wales lock forward Luke Charteris looks set to play his club rugby alongside fellow international James Hook at Perpignan next season.

The Newport Gwent Dragons second row has agreed a three-year contract with the struggling Top 14 club, according to local paper l'Independant. The lock is currently out for four months with a wrist injury, but looks ready to turn his back on the Dragons and pursue a contract in France. Charteris shone during the World Cup, and the Dragons had previously spoken of their struggle to keep hold of their Wales stars.

Perpignan lost 19-12 to fellow strugglers Lyon on Saturday; a defeat which leaves the club in the midst of a relegation battle, and president Paul Goze admitted the rest of the season was all about survival. "USAP are playing against relegation and the descent for the 14 matches that are left," he told l'Independant. "At this stage, it's about the merit of being clear of that, with the objective of finishing mid-table. This season will be a period of transition so we can push on again next season."

Biarritz boss Serge Blanco has blamed the fixture list for his club's latest defeat, a 23-30 home loss to Montpellier. The loss leaves the Basque side rooted to the bottom of the Top 14, five points from safety, and Blanco was quick to blame the last Tuesday's re-scheduled Basque derby as the reason for the loss.

"Three games in a week, it's difficult, especially when we weren't able to rotate our squad much for the third match. The difference was the freshness [of the players]," Blanco told Sudouest. "Today, the point of no return has been reached but the season isn't over yet. There are still 14 games."

Meanwhile Toulouse backs coach Jean-Baptiste Elissalde has claimed their 33-12 bonus point win against Toulon win means nothing, despite the champions reclaiming top spot in the Top 14 with their most accomplished performance of the season so far. Elissalde told La Depeche du Midi: "It was a complete game from us against a very good side. We were sold in defence and more efficient in attack but the win guarantees nothing in terms of the rest of the season.

"Last week in Brive, we really underperformed and we mustn't forget that. This one is worth as many points as the others. We've got to remain measured because just because we beat Toulon like that doesn't mean it'll be the same against Harlequins."

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