Ali Williams to join Toulon

09th Jul 2013, 16:35

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Heading to France: Ali Williams

Heading to France: Ali Williams

Toulon have confirmed the signing of All Black second rower Ali Williams, who will replace the departing Nick Kennedy.

Toulon have confirmed the signing of All Black second rower Ali Williams, who will replace the departing Nick Kennedy.

Williams has made no secret of his desire to join Toulon, but the RCT appeared to have finished their recruitment drive in mid-June.  

In addition, Toulon had reached the maximum percentage of foreign-trained players (45 percent) in their squad and could not, unless a foreigner decided to leave, recruit any more big names from abroad.

Owner Mourad Boudjellal has long been a fan of Williams and with Kennedy expressing a desire to leave, a spot has opened up for the Kiwi.

The 33-year-old will replace Kennedy, who enjoyed an excellent 2012/13 season, as the lock wants to represent England at the 2015 World Cup and therefore is looking to join a club in his home nation.

"As usual, we have not wished to keep a player against his will," declared Boudjellal.

"We have in fact asked nothing of Nick since his contract was not finished. To play rugby demands willingness and when willingness is not there it is useless to keep a player against his wish."

The World Cup-winner will be looking to add another title to his great CV, and joins a host of quality players including Martin Castrogiovanni, Benjamin Noirot, Emmanuel Felsina, Michael Claassens, Bryan Habana, and Drew Mitchell who have joined the Top 14 club ahead of the new season.

Williams, who has signed a one year-deal, will link up with Bakkies Botha in the second row in what will surely be an explosive partnership.