Who is Justin Sangare: Profiling the French Test prop tipped to be Leeds Rhinos' first new signing for 2023

Leeds Rhinos are being linked with a move for French prop Justin Sangare, who is in the final season of his contract at Toulouse Olympique.

By Peter Smith
Monday, 20th June 2022, 5:13 pm

The 24-year-old was a substitute for France in their 34-10 win over Wales last weekend and is highly rated both at Toulouse and elsewhere in Betfred Super League.

Here’s a guide to the rising star who could be heading to Rhinos next season.

Date of birth: March 7, 1998.

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Justin Sangare on the ball for Toulouse against Huddersfield this season. Picture by John Rushworth/SWpix.com.

Place of birth: Mali.

Height: 6ft 4ins.

Weight: 18st 2lb.

Current club: Toulouse Olympique.

Justin Sangare is tackled by Rhinos' Morgan Gannon during Toulouse's defeat at Headingley in April. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com

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Background: Sangare helped Toulouse to promotion last season, scoring 10 tries in 13 appearances - all but two off the bench - as the French side topped the Betfred Championship table and went on to beat Featherstone Rovers in the million pound game.

Known as a strong, tough to tackle ball carrier, he took up rugby league aged 10 and was part of Toulouse’s youth system before making his reserves debut against St Esteve in 2015.

His full debut came the following season, in Leeds against Hunslet and - after missing just one game for Olympique last term - he was a try scorer for France in their 2021 Test loss to England in Perpignan.

Justin Sangare. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

He made his France debut against Serbia in Belgrade four years ago and also featured in the 2019 World Cup 9s in Sydney.

He was chased by several top-flight clubs at the end of last season, but opted to sign a new one-year contract with Toulouse.

Rhinos' need for another big front-rower has been obvious all season, particularly one who can make an impact off the bench.

Sangare is big and powerful enough to do that and has the bonus of not taking up a quota place.