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Oyonnax ramp up recruitment drive by signing URC golden boot winner

By Josh Raisey
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: Chris Smith of Vodacom Bulls looks on during the Investec Champions Cup Quarter Final match between Northampton Saints and Vodacom Bulls at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on April 13, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images) (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Oyonnax have swiftly followed the signing of Scotland prop Oli Kebble with the announcement of a deal for Bulls fly-half Chris Smith.

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The 29-year-old has agreed a two-year contract with the club that were relegated from the Top 14 this season.

Both Smith and Kebble were on the bench in the United Rugby Championship final on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld, which is an indication of the calibre of players that Oyonnax are recruiting ahead of next season in ProD2.

Video Spacer

A bitterly disappointed Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White produces a few post-match pearlers

Video Spacer

A bitterly disappointed Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White produces a few post-match pearlers

Though Smith was an unused substitute in the final, he did finish the URC season as the Gilbert golden boot winner. The award is for the player with the greatest kicking success rate from a minimum of 30 kicks, with the South African scooping the award with a rate of 90 per cent from 30 successful kicks.

Smith spent the last five seasons with the Bulls, arriving from the Pumas in 2019, and played a total of 74 matches, scoring nine tries and registering 452 points.

Smith’s exit was on the cards after the Bulls announced the signing of Boeta Chamberlain from the Sharks in May.

“We have signed Boeta from June this year and his arrival will give us variation and depth,” Bulls director of rugby Jake White said after signing Chamberlain.

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“One of the things we want to get to, especially at 10 is to have players who can cover more than one position. When you have a guy, who can play in two different positions – especially on your bench – then you do not have to take your 10 off.

“This has worked for multiple teams and there is logic to good sides leaving their flyhalf on for as long as possible and your bench can either play at 10 or another position.”

“We are not there yet but we are working on it, to ensure that we have the depth of versatile players at flyhalf that will give us balance to our 23.”

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