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Montpellier continue to build formidable pack with Abuladze signing

Nika Abuladze of Exeter Chiefs celebrates a strong scrum with team-mates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 05, 2023 in Exeter, England. Nika Abuladze of Exeter Chiefs celebrates a strong scrum with team-mates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 05, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images) Nika Abuladze of Exeter Chiefs celebrates a strong scrum with team-mates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 05, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images) Nika Abuladze of Exeter Chiefs celebrates a strong scrum with team-mates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 05, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Georgian international Nika Abuladze is close to signing a deal with Top14 side Montpellier, moving from the Exeter Chiefs to Bernard Laporte’s setup just one year after joining the Gallagher Premiership side, as reported by French media.

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The 28-year-old loosehead prop landed in Devon in April 2023, but has never established himself as a first-team option, and has failed as well to be an impactful replacement in his one year at the club. This situation ultimately led to his decision to leave Rob Baxter’s forward pack and try his luck over in France’s top division.

Before his short stint in Exeter, Abuladze played for the Georgian franchise Black Lion, successfully winning two Rugby Europe Super Cups and earning his first caps for the Lelos in 2022. He was vital in forcing a scrum penalty in the famous victory over Wales in Cardiff, fueling his pro career from that day forward.

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He was included in Levan Maisashvili’s 33-man squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, starting in one match, and playing two more games in Georgia’s World Cup campaign.

In his new club, he will find fellow Georgian teammates Vano Karkadze and Luka Japaridze, adding yet more ballast to Laporte’s squad, which is seemingly rebuilding after a dismal 2023/2024 performance.

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Exeter Chiefs
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Montpellier are still fighting to clinch a spot in next season’s Top14, as the club lingers in 13th place, with four games to go. If the Les Cistes aren’t able to overtake Bayonne, they will be forced to play a play-off match against the Pro D2 runner-up, with the winner earning a place in the 2024/2025 Top14.

This will be Abuladze’s first adventure in France, and it comes at the best possible moment if the front-row wants to rejoin the Georgian national setup, after failing to be included in Richard Cockerill’s plans for the Men’s Rugby Europe Championship 2023.

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The contract will have a duration of two seasons.

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Comments

1 Comment
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Niwla 75 days ago

Rubbish article! Abuladze played most of Exeters matches when fit. He got injured against Glasgow a while ago and is out for the rest of the season, thats why he hasnt played for Exeter and Georgia recently. Do some proper research next time!

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