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All Black lock heading to France

Two-time All Black lock Dominic Bird is set to leave the Chiefs at the end of the season after he was announced as a new signing for French glamour club Racing 92.

The 27-year-old will be one of eight new faces at the club, joining the likes of Finn Russell, Simon Zebo and Ben Volavola.

Bird will replace the retiring Argentinian Patricio Albacete.

Bird is currently in his fifth year of Super Rugby after making his debut with the Crusaders in 2013.

He moved north to join the Chiefs in 2016, and his form for the side saw him re-selected for the All Blacks at the end of 2017.

Unfortunately the 2.06m lock had his 2018 campaign cut short after suffering a shoulder injury during the first game of the Super Rugby season.

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Fellow new signings Volavola and Raphael Lagarde will likely battle to back up Scottish international Russell, with all three new fly-halves joining the club after the departures of Daniel Carter and Remi Tales. The club will also be without the recently re-signed Patrick Lambie for an extended period after the Springbok suffered a serious knee injury during the recent Champions cup final at Bilbao.

Club president Jacky Lorenzetti earlier confirmed the arrival of Irish international Simon Zebo from PRO14 side Munster and French flanker Fabien Sanconnie from Brive.

Also signed up are Dax centre Olivier Klemenczak and 17-year-old Massy flanker Jordan Joseph, who is currently representing France at the U20 World Championship.

Yannick Nyanga, who has retired from playing at 34, will remain with the club as sporting director.

Nyanga will join forces with former Racing teammates Chris Masoe and Casey Laulala, who have been taken on as coaching assistants.

RACING 92

Departures
Viliamu Afatia, Marc Andreu, Dan Carter, Remi Tales, Albert Vulivuli, Anthony Tuitavake

Retirements
Patricio Albacete, Dambielle Benjamin, Casey Laulala, Yannick Nyanga

Arrivals
Dominic Bird, Jordan Joseph, Fabien Sanconnie, Finn Russell, Raphael Lagarde, Olivier Klemenczack, Ben Volavola, Simon Zebo

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All Black lock heading to France | RugbyPass