Ex-All Black Rudi Wulf drops down three divisions to extend his career in France
Ex-All Blacks winger Rudi Wulf will prolong his career in France with a left-field move that sees him drop three divisions, moving from Toulon in Top 14 to play for Hyeres-Carqueiranne-La Crau in the Federal 1. The 37-year-old has spent nine consecutive seasons in France, but his career hit a bump earlier this year when he was released by Lyon during his fifth season with them.
Wulf quickly re-emerged at Toulon, the club he initially joined on moving to France from the Super Rugby Blues, and he even played against Lyon in a March Top 14 game. Having also played at Castres, the New Zealander was set to retire from playing at the end of this season.
However, Hyeres-Carqueiranne will become Wulf’s fourth club in France and it will be a convenient move for him as his new fourth-tier club is located just 20kms from Toulon, who complete their regular-season top-flight campaign with a trip to Castres this weekend, a match that the New Zealander is not involved in.
Capped by the All Blacks on four occasions in 2008, facing England, South Africa (twice) and Samoa, Wulf first went to France to play for Toulon in the 2010/11 season.
He returned home for two campaigns with North Harbour and another for the Blues before he returned to Europe for the 2012/13 season which culminated in a first Heineken Champions Cup title win for Toulon.
Rudi Wulf reste dans le Sud Est et près de Toulon en rejoignant le club de Hyères Carqueiranne la Crau ! pic.twitter.com/lMJq8AmlDa
— Parce Que Toulon !!! (@parcequetoulon) June 5, 2021
Federal used to be considered the highest level of amateur rugby in France but that sector has since been professionalised with a 14-team National division feeding into Pro D2. Federal 1 is the next level down and Hyeres-Carqueiranne boss Gregory Le Corvec can’t wait to see their new signing in action from September.
“Rudi has had a great professional career, an All-Black international, champion of France and Europe with Toulon,” said Le Corvec. “He is an exemplary leader for his daily work and his ability to advance the players around him. For our three-quarter line, he is going to pull everyone up.”
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