Former All Blacks back row hopeful Jordan Taufua has joined Lyon as a medical joker, initially signing from Leicester to provide cover for the remainder of the Top 14 season for the injured Mathieu Bastareaud and Gillian Galan. He has also penned a deal for the two years after that, keeping him at Lyon until 2023.
A starter twice in Europe in December, the Auckland-born back row – who turns 29 on Friday – made just two Gallagher Premiership appearances off the Leicester bench this season, his second year with the English club.
Taufua made a dozen league appearances in his debut season at Leicester after joining them from the Crusaders. However, having fallen down the pecking order under new Tigers boss Steve Borthwick, the Geordan Murphy signing has decided to continue his career elsewhere and is currently in quarantine in France.
A statement on Wednesday from Lyon read: “We are happy to announce the recruitment of Jordan Taufua to compensate for the absences of Bastareaud and Gallan. He turns 29 this Friday and he arrives in good time for Pierre Mignoni and his staff to strengthen a pack not spared from injury this season.
“Expected today [Wednesday] in Lyon, the new back row will still have to observe a period of quarantine lasting seven days before being able to join the Lyon workforce and discover his new teammates.
Le LOU est heureux d'annoncer ce recrutement de poids pour pallier aux absences de Bastareaud et Gallan dans le paquet d'avant ?
— LOU Rugby (@LeLOURugby) January 27, 2021
“Prior to joining Leicester Tigers two years ago, Taufua played at Crusaders, one of New Zealand’s top provinces, with whom he won Super Rugby three times in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2018, his performances propelled him in selection but an injury deprived him of a first cap under the jersey of the All Blacks.”
Lyon are currently seventh in the Top 14 with eight wins from 14 matches, but they have had a tough run recently when losing three of their five games. They take on Pau this Friday at home, but the game where Taufua will potentially make his debut is the February 13 trip to Racing.
"When I first came here we trained hard. We may have gone away from that a bit but we have come back to it"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 26, 2021
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