Bonnaire signs for Clermont

French back-row Julien Bonnaire has left Bourgoin after seven years to sign for local rivals and Top 14 second-placed club Clermont Auvergne.

Bonnaire, capped 24 times by France and likely to be an integral part of the Rugby World Cup squad this year, has signed for two years.

“Clermont really is a grand club on all levels,” said Bonnaire to Le Site.

“In terms of infrastructure, they are going to be one of the finest, and with a brand new stadium.

“Coach Vern Cotter has extended his contract there along with most of the players, and there is real quality there, able to achieve great things.

To leave one club for a local rival is something of a faux pas, but Bonnaire said that the decision to stay in the Clermont-Ferrand region rather than head south west was family-oriented.

“It is less than two hours from my family, which made a difference,” he said.

“Castres also wanted me and tried to force the issue a little, but that only forced me to hesitate and think harder.

“There were also positives there, but after weighing up all the criteria, Clermont came out top.

“There is potential at Bourgoin. We raised the playing level there, but maybe we didn’t adjust the structures enough, and that is an indispensible stage of development.

“It is very important to have a large stadium and the correct internal structures in place, and that was alcking at Bourgoin for the club to reach its peak.”

365 Digital

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