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Smith makes surprise French move

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David Smith makes surprise move down the grades to prolong his career in France

Fédérale 1 level club Narbonne have pulled off a transfer coup as preparations begin for their new French league season. 

Samoan David Smith, who became internationally tied to New Zealand through playing sevens for them in 2008 during a Super Rugby career at the Blues, the Hurricanes and the Force, has signed for the 2019/20 season.

The winger, who won multiple European Champions Cups and French Top 14 titles, is stepping down two divisions to prolong his stellar career in Europe at the age of 32. 

Smith joined Toulon in 2011/12, playing four seasons for the Mourad Boujellal club in an era where they won three European titles in a row and the French league title in 2014. 

He then switched to unfashionable Castres where further honours were won, the club clinching league honours in 2018. 

After four seasons at that club, he has now taken up an offer at Narbonne, a once proud outfit who have fallen on hard times following the failure of their Australian consortium to turn them into a powerhouse. 

Instead, they were relegated from Pro D2 in 2018 and they failed to make an impression last season, finishing in fifth spot in Pool 3 in the Fédérale after winning just nine of 20 matches. 

The surprising arrival to pre-season training of Smith, though, signals their intention to chase down a promotion in 2019/20. 

The Samoan-born finisher, who developed his rugby with a scholarship at Auckland’s Mount Albert Grammar School, started 16 of Castres’ Top 14 matches last season and has now signed a two-year deal at Narbonne who have made a couple of other eye-catching signings. 

Also on board are Tongan centre Sione Piukala, the 34-year-old who spent seven seasons at Perpignan who have just been relegated from the Top 14. 

Fiji winger Venione Voretamaya, 28, is another signing. He recently spent four seasons at Pro D2 outfit Colomiers following two years apiece at Brive and Albi.  

WATCH: The new RugbyPass documentary exploring the life and times of Fijian legend Nemani Nadolo

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David Smith makes surprise move down the grades to prolong his career in France