Ben Smith will join Pau after the 2019 World Cup, but the French Top 14 club has missed out on signing Ardie Savea.
Pau president Bernard Pontneau confirmed the move with French broadcaster RMC Sport on Tuesday. The World Cup-winning utility back will move to Japan after finishing the 2020 season and will be unavailable for international selection while playing outside of New Zealand.
‘We would have liked to have had this sorted earlier,’ Pontneau said. ‘He is is a great player, who will bring a lot to the team.
‘He will have a big impact with the group and our young players will be able to learn from a player of his magnitude. He’ll make them move faster.’
Pontneau also confirmed that the club has not managed to secure Savea’s signature, as the 25-year-old Hurricanes flank has decided to re-sign with New Zealand rugby.
‘It is for certain that he will not be coming,’ Pontneau said. ‘It’s disappointing, but it’s also the risk you take when wanting to recruit a young player.’
Photo: Martin Hunter/AFP