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'Tongan Bear' earns new contract at Clermont despite only playing 24 minutes for the club

Prop Loni Uhila has put pen-to-paper on a new deal as he recovers from a broken arm.

Clermont Auvergne prop Loni Uhila.
Clermont Auvergne prop Loni Uhila.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

CLERMONT HAVE EXERCISED an option to sign Loni Uhila for a second year despite “The Tongan Bear” having played only 24 minutes for the club, the French champions said on Saturday.

The New Zealand-born 28-year-old only arrived from Hurricanes in October but broke his arm against Lyon in November.

Having originally signed a one-year deal with an option for a second year, Uhila is now tied down to the French champions until June 2019.

He made his debut against Montpellier on November 5 but has yet to even play half an hour in total for the Vulcans.

Clermont said on Saturday he should be back in action in March following an operation on his arm.

Like cross-code All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams, Uhila has taken part in professional boxing bouts alongside his rugby career.

But unlike Williams, who has won all seven of his bouts, Uhila’s record is modest.

Both his fights have been against New Zealander David Letele, known as the “Brown Butterbean”, and resulted in a win apiece.

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