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Bristol eyeing ex-All Black flanker as replacement for Luatua - reports

French newspaper Midi Olympique reports that ex-All Black loose forward Victor Vito is a target for Premiership club Bristol Bears, who is coming off contract with La Rochelle at the end of the season.

The departure of Vito is reportedly anticipated by the French club, who have been trying to extend the 31-year-old. In August this year, Vito indicated he wanted to stay advising contract details were being finalised.

“We are discussing the final details, we will see what will happens. Yes, I want to continue,” he said at the time.

Despite those contract talks, Midi reports that Pat Lam has made it clear to Vito’s representatives that he is one of Bristol’s top recruitment priorities for next season, who are preparing to loose another All Black loose forward, Steven Luatua.

Luatua is believed to be contemplating a return to New Zealand in order to reignite his international career ahead of next year’s World Cup, making Vito an ideal replacement.

The Bristol Bears have been active in signing high-profile All Blacks, with Charles Piutau joining the club this year for their first season back in the Premiership.

Vito, who was capped 33 times for the All Blacks, was voted the best player in the Top 14 in 2017. La Rochelle finished top of the Top 14 table but was upset in the semi-final by the 4th seeded Toulon.

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Bristol eyeing ex-All Black flanker as replacement for Luatua - reports | RugbyPass