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Ronan O'Gara has a new flyhalf option at La Rochelle

By Stefan Frost
(Photo by Xavier Leoty/AFP via Getty Images)

La Rochelle have signed flyhalf Antoine Hastoy from Pau as a replacement for Ihaia West, who is leaving the European Champions this summer for Toulon.

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Hastoy has been a loyal servant at Pau since 2015, but admits in an interview with Midi Olympique this weekend to frustrations at the team’s inability to make it into title contention. With a move north to La Rochelle, the 25-year-old hopes to rekindle his dream of lifting the Top 14 and even earn an international call up.

“I want to win titles,” Hastoy told Midi Olympique. “When I met the people at La Rochelle, I immediately knew that I wanted to go there and nowhere else. From the first meeting I was sure of my choice.

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“I’m really excited to join a club that has proven that it is capable of winning.”

Since the start of the 2018/19 season, Pau have not finished higher than tenth and just narrowly avoided relegation from the Top 14 in that time. These poor showings encouraged Hastoy to begin looking for a fresh start.

“Previous seasons at Pau made me want to look elsewhere. We had just experienced three difficult seasons and I wanted more. Mentally it’s really hard to live with never knowing what we were going to do next season. And also knowing that you can’t play for the title.”

It is not just the trophy credentials of La Rochelle that interested Hastoy. By playing for a team near the top of the league, he also foresees a opportunity to show off his pedigree and force an international call up in the near future.

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“The French team is there in the corner of my head. I know I have to play in important matches otherwise it would be impossible to get any higher. That’s why joining a team that can perform in the league and in the European Cup was important.”

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