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Tekori sighting at rival club suggests giant Samoan wants one more year

By Ian Cameron
Joe Tekori (Photo by Karl Bridgeman/Getty Images for Barbarians)

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Samoan great Joe Tekori may be 38-years-old, but it looks like he’s in the hunt for one more year of professional rugby.

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The 6’6, 130kg juggernaut was set to hang up his boots after a stellar career at French giants Toulouse, but a sighting of the Samoan at a rival club suggests there may be another season left in his tank.

Tekori joined Toulouse in 2013 following a six-year stint at Castres, and has called the Pink City home ever since. A cult figure for es Rouge et noir, the idea of the secondrow playing his rugby anyway else might seem odd to the home fans, but another year would be a welcome sight for neutrals.

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According to reports in France, Tekori was spotted at Stade Aimé Giral, the home of Perpignan. He is also apparently on the radar of ProD2 side Carcasonne.

Perpignan currently sit 11th in the Top 14 table, with just six points separating them from Brive, Biarritz and Toulon.

It would be quite a change of scenario for the hulking lock who is equally adept in the back row. He is known as the “spiritual father” of the locker room at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. He made 229 appearances for Stade Toulousain, which when added to his 158 caps for Castres, leaves him just shy of a remarkable 400 appearances in the Top 14.

Tekori announced his shock retirement from Test rugby back in 2019 just prior to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, but he was set to make a return to international rugby against the Barbarians in Twickenham last November, before that match was cancelled due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the BaaBaas camp.

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Tekori’s grand send-off was ruined just an hour before kick-off, with the big forward left on the verge of tears when he gave a pitchside interview. His 37 cap career would have spanned some 15 years had the game gone ahead.

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