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Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 10:01 UK

Olivier Azam to decide on his Gloucester future

Olivier Azam
Azam is in his testimonial year at Gloucester

Veteran Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam's future at Kingsholm could be in his own hands, according to head coach Bryan Redpath.

The 36-year-old's contract ends in the summer, while Gloucester are being linked with Virgil Lacombe of Toulouse.

Redpath told BBC Gloucestershire: "We have had discussions with Olly [Azam], Virgil Lacombe and some others.

"Olly has been a hell of a servant here and if he stays for a season or hangs up his boots is for him to decide."

Gloucester's other options at hooker currently include Scott Lawson, Darren Dawidiuk and academy youngster Koree Britton.

Next season is not necessarily about loyalty, the game going forward is about making sure that we develop

Bryan Redpath

Lawson is likely to miss much of next season through World Cup and Six Nations duty with Scotland which could leave the door open for Azam, who is thought to want to stay.

The former France international, who has scored 27 tries in 239 games for the Cherry and Whites, is nearing the end of his second spell with the club.

He first the joined West Country side in 2000 from Montferrand before heading back to France in 2003 but then returned to Gloucester a year later.

Azam has firmly established himself as Kingsholm favourite for his uncompromising style of play and won the fans' player of the season award in 2008/9.

But Redpath insists both sides will not allow sentiment to play a part in the process when discussions over his future take place.

"I just want to get the right person for the right position," he said.

"The right person doesn't necessarily mean they've been here for 10 years or one year.

"Next season is not necessarily about loyalty, the game going forward is about making sure that we develop and try and strengthen the squad.

"We've got to get the balance right and that'll come out in the next couple of weeks."

Azam may well have already played his last game for Gloucester after he was cited by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel for head-butting Northampton's Adam Eustace on 19 April.

If found guilty he could miss the final Premiership game of the season at home to Sale on 7 May..



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