Former Hurricane and All Black centre Ngani Laumape made his French debut in Saturday’s opening round of the Top 14. In the end, though, his solid efforts weren’t enough as Stade Francais fell 36-21 to cross-town rivals Racing 92.
Laumape notably left New Zealand last Spring to seek opportunities abroad after contract negotiations fell through with New Zealand Rugby.
“It wasn’t hard when I was offered a contract that asked me to take less in income. So, once that came into perspective, I had to make the best decision for me and my kids,” the barnstorming midfielder explained.
“I just want to be happy again playing footy. The last couple of years, I’ve always loved being in the Hurricanes environment and I’ve always thrived in the Hurricanes environment, but for me, it’s just about going there and having fun; don’t have to worry about outside noise, just playing good for the club and hopefully it’s something my kids will be able to cherish.”
Unsurprisingly, a large opportunity came when he signed a lucrative deal with Stade.
In the meantime, the re-emergence of David Havili for the All Blacks appears to confirm that the decision turned out well for all parties.
Nevertheless, as the highlights demonstrate, Laumape still has much to offer his new club.
In other Top 14 action, another former All Black centre, Francis Saili, delivered this big hit in Biarritz’s 27-15 win over Bordeaux Begles.
The first try of the #Top14 season!!
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) September 4, 2021
He also made another great tackle down the touchline on Matthieu Jalibert.