French stars sign HUGE deals, ex-All Black off to France, Williams commits

Jared Wright
Scarlets and Tongan forward Vaea Fifita, La Rochelle forward Gregory Alldritt and Pumas back Devon Williams.

Scarlets and Tongan forward Vaea Fifita, La Rochelle forward Gregory Alldritt and Pumas back Devon Williams.

Ronan O’Gara has reportedly locked in the long-term future of La Rochelle, while former All Blacks flanker Vaea Fifita looks set to leave the Scarlets.

The midway point of the European season means there is plenty of transfer news and rumours; here are three top stories.

La Rochelle stars re-sign

After winning back-to-back Champions Cup titles with La Rochelle, O’Gara is looking to lock in the long-term success of the Top 14 club.

According to a report by RMC Sport, several top players have signed contract extensions, and many have topped up their current deals.

Among the players to re-sign is captain Gregory Alldritt, who is set to remain at the club until at least 2029. The French number eight’s current contract only expires at the end of the 2025/26 season, but he has extended his commitment to June 2029.

Fellow French international Uini Atonio has also extended his contract through to 2027, which will see him play until he is 37 years old.

Pierre Bourgarit and Reda Wardi have joined Alldritt in committing their services until 2029, with Thomas Lavault and Jules Favre re-signing until 2028.

Fijian Levani Botia is believed to have signed a two-year extension, with his contract expiring at the end of the current season. The report adds that it is likely to be his final contract as he hangs up his boots at the age of 37.

The club are reportedly in advanced talks to extend Will Skelton’s contract until 2028 and is also looking to lock in Paul Boudehent and UJ Seuteni – the latter is attracting interest from Stade Francais and Racing 92.

Scarlets to lose Vaea Fifita to France

Former All Blacks, now Tongan flanker, Fifita is set to leave Scarlets at the end of the season and looks likely to join Top 14 club Montpellier.

Midi Olympique reports that the forward, who now represents Tonga at international level, is in “very advanced discussions” with Montpellier.

Fifita has been a standout performer at Scarlets alongside fellow Tongan Sam Lousi but is expected to depart the URC side amid budget restrictions in Welsh rugby.

The report adds that Fifita wishes to make the move to France to be closer to his brother Leva, who is currently playing for Narbonne in France’s third division.

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Devon Williams extends with the Bulls

The Bulls have secured Devon Williams’ services permanently after impressing with the URC side this season.

Williams joined the Pretoria-based outfit on loan from the Pumas but has starred for Jake White’s side, prompting the Bulls to buy him out of the remainder of his contract.

The 31-year-old full-back offers the Bulls versatility on the wing and at fly-half and has made the most of his opportunities since arriving in Pretoria.

Deon Slabbert also joined the Bulls on loan from the Pumas, but he will return to the Currie Cup side when his current deal expires.

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