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Elliott Stooke has exited Bristol for a spell in the Top 14

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Elliott Stooke has become the latest ex-Wasps player to move to the Top 14, the lock bringing to an end his short-term injury cover deal at Bristol by signing for Montpellier, the reigning French champions, until the end of the current season.

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Stooke was still recovering from last May’s fibula fracture versus Sale when Wasps collapsed in mid-October with the loss of 167 player and staff jobs. He returned to playing during the Barbarians’ English club tour in November and was unveiled as a short-term Bristol singing on December 2.

Having played three times for the Bears, including a European Challenge Cup match at Perpignan, Stooke has now left Bristol for a move to France and he is line for a Top 14 debut this Sunday when Racing 92 visit Montpellier.

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A statement read: “Montpellier Herault Rugby have formalised the arrival of English lock Elliott Stooke as an additional player for the end of this 2022/2023 season. Having arrived last Thursday in the Herault, the lock was present in training at the start of the week and can apply for the reception of Racing 92 this Sunday evening at the GGL Stadium.

“Coming from Bristol, Elliott Stooke notably went through Wasps. With a jumping and dynamic profile of 198cm and 122kgs, the player will bring all his freshness and knowledge of the lineout to Montpellier and will help to compensate for the injury of Florian Verhaeghe, who is absent for several months.”

Stooke celebrated his arrival in France with a post on his Linkedin account. “After all that has happened this year with injury and what happened with Wasps, I’m excited to get stuck into my French adventure.” It was just five weeks ago when Bristol were acknowledging the arrival of Stooke at Ashton Gate. “Following the injuries to Ed Holmes and Joe Joyce, we needed some cover in the second row and we are pleased to bring in a player of Elliott’s quality and experience,” said Pat Lam at the time.

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Stooke’s last appearance for the Bears came in their Gallagher Premiership win at Harlequins on December 27, the 28-year-old tweeting: “Some seven-month journey to get back… injury, redundancy then trying to find a new team. Big thanks to everyone that has helped me on this one, and big thanks to Bristol. Merry Christmas all.”

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