French media provides update on All Blacks centre's future
NEWS: All Blacks centre Ngani Laumape will not be returning to Stade Francais – French media have revealed.
The future of the 29-year-old was the focus of some speculation over the weekend, but it appears that Laumape is choosing to pursue opportunities in Japan and exit his Stade Francais contract early.
According to Rugbyrama and Midi Olympique, the 15-cap All Black is set to play in Japan Rugby League One after what many in the French media have described as a flop of a Top 14 season for the Parisians.
Reports are the 103kg former Rugby League star was struggling to adjust to life in France. Stade Francais owner Hans Peter-Wild told Midi Olymique recently.
“But his [Laumape’s] family is having a little trouble adjusting to this huge city that is Paris and we have therefore recently studied the possibility of freeing the player.”
Although there is interest in Laumape back in New Zealand, it doesn’t look like the block-busting midfielder will be returning in the short term at least.
In fact he took the time to point that the All Blacks never gave him a proper shot at the 12 jersey despite being the form centre in New Zealand. He revealed over the weekend that he left his homeland for France after receiving an underwhelming contract offer from New Zealand Rugby back in 2021.
“Go back look footage and stats from 2017 till I left, I had better numbers than every midfield in NZ,” he wrote. “They never gave me a proper shot at 12 and then would give me feedback like you’re the form midfielder but just a tough situation.
“Didn’t take me too to World Cup when everyone knew… then they didn’t want to pay me the same salary for my new contract… would you still keep fighting or go set up your family and kids?”
Stade are set to sign another All Black to replace him, with Francis Sailli set to fill his fellow All Blacks’ boots. The 31-year-old has just finished two seasons in Biarritz, having enjoyed stints at both Harlequins and Munster.
By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass