Filipo on his way to Racing

Date published: July 31 2015

Former All Blacks lock Ross Filipo's career has taken a new twist after it was revealed he will be joining Top 14 side Racing 92.

The 36-year-old will join a formidable Racing squad which boasts the likes of fellow New Zealanders like Chris Masoe, Casey Laulala, Ben Tameifuna and Dan Carter – who joins the Paris-based club after the Rugby World Cup.

Filipo, who played for Bayonne for three seasons from 2009, has signed a one-year contract and said Racing approached him about three weeks ago due to injuries in their squad.

"It just landed in my lap," said Filipo, who previously played for Bayonne for three seasons from 2009.

"I was all geared up to play ITM Cup with Waikato when this came out of the blue. At my age, it's a no brainer. I'm never going to get an opportunity like this again and it's a chance to financially secure my family.

"They have some big-name players and a few friends play there. They've got a good group of ex-pats so it's going to be a good environment."

Earlier this season, Filipo answered an SOS from the Chiefs who were in the midst of an injury crisis in their second row and played a handful of Super Rugby matches for the Hamilton-based franchise.

After the latest lease on his career Filipo has not ruled out playing on beyond his current deal with Racing.

"I thought I had hung the boots up and was moving forward with life post-rugby," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"But when these things came along, I thought, 'bugger it'. Guys like Brad Thorn and Victor Matfield played into their 40s. I'm 36 now so I'm sure I can squeeze out four more years.

"I would never say never [about Super Rugby] but coming back this year it was apparent it's very much a young man's game in New Zealand. 

"The physical demands are very high. If you are managed well, you can get through a season, but I'm realistic about my chances of coming back in again. You can't have a crusty, old bugger like me taking up a spot."