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Samoan takes up Montpellier offer

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Montpellier plug the Pienaar gap by recruiting a Samoan from the Premiership

Vern Cotter’s Montpellier have bolstered their scrum-half resources for next season by recruiting a Samoan from the English Premiership.

The French club entered the off-season light on No9 options after the departure of Ruan Pienaar, most probably to the Cheetahs, the retirement of Julien Tomas and the likely World Cup call up of Georgia’s Gela Aprasidze. 

However, they have now moved to plug that gap with the recruitment on a one-year deal of Kahn Fotuali’i, the 37-year-old last capped by Samoa in 2017 who will head to France off the back of eight consecutive seasons playing in the UK.

He spent the past three at Bath, making 10 appearances in the English club’s most recent Premiership campaign under the now departed coach Todd Blackadder. Prior to that, Fotuali’i spent three seasons at Northampton and another two at Welsh region Ospreys in a British adventure that began in 2011. 

The Auckland-born, 31-cap Samoan half-back, who checks in at 94kgs, had four seasons of Super Rugby at the Crusaders as well as spells at Tasman and Hawkes Bay before opting to ply his trade in the northern hemisphere. 

Bath had announced on May 8 that Fotuali’i, first capped by Samoa in October 2010, was among a batch of 11 players departing The Rec this summer ahead of the team’s takeover by incoming director of rugby, Stuart Hooper.

Tongan Cooper Vuna, another of those departures, picked up a contract at Championship side Newcastle earlier this week. 

Bath had described Fotuali’i as “a fantastic player, and a serious competitor who loves to win” when they signed him in June 2016. He went on to play 47 times in the Premiership for them, as well as making another 15 appearances in the Champions Cup. 

He said at the time when he joined: “They have an exciting, attacking ethos, which I’m looking forward to being part of, and I really like the focus that is put on individual development of players. You can always continue to learn as a player.”

That learning will now continue in France.

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Montpellier plug the Pienaar gap by recruiting a Samoan from the Premiership