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Bernard Jackman’s Grenoble have signed a Tongan international

Sona Taumalolo has agreed to move to FCG from Racing Métro ahead of next season.

GRENOBLE HAVE ADDED to their list of new faces ahead of next season by confirming the signing of Tongan international prop Sona Taumalolo.

The 33-year-old loosehead joins after a short-term spell with Racing Métro in the latter part of last season, having originally moved to France to sign for Perpignan in 2012.

Alisona Taumalolo celebrates Taumalolo [centre] celebrates scoring a try against New Zealand at the 2011 World Cup. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Taumalolo won the 2012 Super Rugby title with the Chiefs in New Zealand, playing an integral part with an exceptional season that saw him score nine tries in his 18 appearances.

The former Hawke’s Bay front row has earned 11 caps for Tonga and featured at the 2011 World Cup. He will compete with the likes of Irishman Denis Coulson, Fabien Barcella and Alexandre Dardet at Grenoble under head coach Bernard Jackman next season.

Grenoble also confirmed the signing of 23-year-old scrum-half Christophe Loustalot from Bayonne today, with the former France U18 international increasing depth at halfback alongside first-choice nine Charl McLeod and ex-Clontarf man James Hart.

FCG finished the 2014/15 Top 14 season in 11th position, a repeat of their performance the year before, but will hope to make progress up the league in 2015/16 despite their relatively limited budget for players.

Among the other new faces joining Jackman’s squad are experienced English lock James Percival, highly-rated second row Mathias Marie, former France international Fabrice Estebanez, powerful Kiwi back row Steven Setephano and prolific wing Armand Batlle from Pro D2 outfit Colomiers.

Grenoble signings for 2015/16 season:

Sona Taumalolo (Racing Métro)
James Percival (Worcester)
Mathias Marie (Biarritz)
Lucas Dupont (Montpellier)
Walter Desmaison (Racing Métro)
Fabrice Estabanez (Lyon)
Steven Setephano (NTT Hurricanes)
Armand Batlle (Colomiers)
Gilles Bosch (Carcassone)
Christophe Loustalot (Bayonne)
Paea Fa’anunu (Castres)

Originally published Monday at 20.48

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Murray Kinsella

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