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Ihaia West signs for Toulon

By Ian Cameron

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Toulon have confirmed the signing of former Maori All Blacks standoff Ihaia West from La Rochelle.

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West will join Rugby Club Toulonnais next season and “will wear the red and black jersey until 2025”, the club have said in a statement.

“Ihaia West will no doubt want to win a trophy with the RCT he has signed up with for the next three seasons,” said Toulon in a statement.

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After starting his career with Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand, West made a name for himself during stints with the Auckland Blues and then the Hurricanes. Between the two sides he took part in five seasons of Super Rugby before heading to Europe.

Stade Rochelais recruited the former Maori All Black in 2018, where he starred for Les Maritimes with in the TOP 14, Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals.

Speaking to RugbyPass in October West indicated that he was keen to stay in France and that his time at La Rochelle might be coming to an end.

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“My wife and I love life in France and it is where we want to stay and have a number of more seasons. Whether that is in La Rochelle or elsewhere, we can hopefully have that sorted in the next few months… I just love how close everything is. You can travel. Being in New Zealand you are isolated.

“Growing up in New Zealand you don’t really hear too much (of French rugby) other than the likes of Toulouse or Toulon – we were growing up with the likes of Jonny Wilkinson – and Clermont. The big clubs are what you only really hear of or see on TV back home. I didn’t really know too much about La Rochelle as a club and as a town.”

Meanwhile, for their part, La Rochelle appear likely to sign Racing 92 winger Teddy Thomas.

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