Former England fullback Nick Abendanon will be staying in France after all, with official confirmation of a two-year deal being revealed this evening. Abendanon was released by Clermont earlier this year and despite a decorated career in the Top 14, was struggling to find a home.

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Set to turn 34 in August, the twice-capped England player had been left in limbo due to the Covid-19 pandemic calling a halt to the Top 14 season in France and stalling the recruitment process for next season.

He had been linked with a move back to the Premiership with Bath and possibly London Irish, however, it ProD2 side Vannes have secured his signature.

Abendanon was even considering retirement. He told RugbyPass in mid-April that retirement was looking increasingly on the horizon. “In my mind now, that’s what is happening, it’s the end,” he said last month. “I’ve still got the desire and the motivation to play. So if I was forced to retire because of the pandemic, but still hungry, it would be a shame because something that is uncontrollable has forced my hand.”

Clermont informed Abendanon in October they would not be keeping him on. There was fleeting interest from Grenoble and the Pro D2, but the second tier didn’t appeal. There was even talk of an offer from San Diego Legion in America’s fledgeling professional league, but that didn’t materialise.

So desperate has he been that he even he longed for a return to Bath, his hometown club where he dazzled for the thick end of a decade. “I tried to get the Bath flame going and potentially go back there for a year,” he revealed. “I know the owner Bruce Craig and Stuart Hooper, the director of rugby, and it’s where I’m from.

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“But for them, they have got some young guys coming through who deserve a chance and Tom Homer is there playing pretty good rugby at the moment so that one fizzled out pretty quickly as well. Apart from that, there hasn’t really been anything else.”

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