Ben Barba's French rugby dream is reportedly over, just three months after it began.

Despite signing a $2.5 million two-year deal, Barba has been reportedly axed by Toulon, having only just joined the French Top 14 club in February this year.

Barba has played just 96 minutes of rugby since joining Toulon.

With Toulon's season finishing in a matter of weeks French site L'Equipe revealed that Barba will be one of five players not returning to the club next season.


Fellow Australian's Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau, as well as Jean-Charles Oriolo and Juanne Smith will join Barba in facing the axe.

Alesana Tuilagi, Ayumu Goromaru, Jimmy Yobo and Jonathan Pelissie are also expected to play no further part at Toulon going forward.

Ironically another NRL star will join Toulon in his place for next season, as Parramatta Eels flyer Semi Radradra has signed on with the glamour side.

Toulon's current Top 14 season has been a disaster, as the big spenders currently flirt with relegation from the first tier of French rugby.

The axing from Toulon could see Barba set his sights on a return to the National Rugby League, but that plan is complicated by an ongoing suspension he is yet to serve.

Barba still must serve a 12-game ban handed to him for a second strike on the NRL's illicit drug policy. The premiership winner tested positive after taking cocaine during the Shark's Grand Final celebrations.

Clubs would also have to find a way to fit Barba under the salary cap, and the NRL will no doubt slap a high price on the former Dally M winner.

It's unlikely he will feature in the 2017 NRL season, given a 12-week ban would almost take him up to the completion of the competition.

The NRL would also have to rubber stamp any return to the game also.

Barba could look to continue his European sojourn by signing with a club in the English Super League, who do not officially recognise NRL suspensions.

The former Canterbury Bulldogs, Brisbane Broncos and Cronulla Sharks star could also opt to remain in French rugby and link with a different Top 14 side.

Barba's plans to link with his former club could hit a snag as well, as reports emerged on Wednesday that the Sharks were eyeing another high profile fullback.

Cronulla have reportedly joined the hunt for off-contract St George Illawarra star Josh Dugan as uncertainty about the Test and NSW representative's future rolls on.

The Sharks are prepared to offer the 27-year-old similar money Jack Bird rejected to join Brisbane last month - close to $1 million a season - the Seven Network reports.

Dugan and Dragons coach Paul McGregor believe his best position is fullback, but St George Illawarra have reportedly tabled him an offer to play centre, a role which typically would pay less.

The Sharks' incumbent No. 1 is Valentine Holmes.

Dugan is currently sidelined with a broken cheekbone he suffered in a nasty head clash with Dragons teammate Russell Packer during the Anzac Test last Friday night, ruling him out of the derby with the Sharks at UOW Jubilee Oval on Friday evening.

He faces a race against time to be fit for the first State Of Origin clash on May 31 with the injury expected to keep him out for at least three weeks.