Vainikolo agrees French switch
Former England international wing Lesley Vainikolo has left Gloucester to join French second division outfit La Rochelle.
Last Updated: 04/01/12 6:45pm
Former England international wing Lesley Vainikolo has left Gloucester to join French second division outfit La Rochelle with immediate effect.
Vainikolo's contract at Kingsholm was due to expire at the end of the current campaign, with the 32-year-old having signed a two-year deal in the spring of 2010.
Reports have suggested he has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract with the ambitious French outfit who currently sit fourth in the country's second tier.
The move will see the Tonga-born star link up again with La Rochelle forwards coach Patrice Collazo who played alongside him at Gloucester.
"Lesley fits the type of player we were looking for," stated La Rochelle coach Fabrice Ribeyrolles. "We have been thinking about strengthening our three-quarter line with a 'puncher' but we did not want to rush.
"Lesley brings many attributes, he has impressive ability both offensively and defensively, he is very physically fit and able to join us immediately.
"He showed a real desire to come and play at La Rochelle."
Vainikolo scored 36 tries in 87 games for Gloucester following his switch from rugby league side Bradford Bulls in 2007 and represented England five times - the last of his caps coming in 2008.