Fiji-born French professional rugby union player Virimi Vakatawa has signed with the Bristol Bears for the 2023/2024 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season.
Following an independent review by an expert panel of leading sports cardiologists, Vakatawa has been granted clearance to return to the professional game and agrees on a deal until the end of the 2023/2024 season.
The 31-year-old scored 49 tries for Racing in 146 appearances, making his name as one of the most dangerous backs in the world.
Director of Rugby Pat Lam says he had the privilege of getting to know Vakatawa better on and off the field recently, and it was very clear to him that he would add real value to the Bears and would bring more depth and experience to their backline.
He says Vakatawa is desperate to get back to playing at the highest level – for the Bears to be able to bring in a player of his quality is a huge statement for the Premiership and they are delighted that Vakatawa has chosen to continue his rugby journey with them.
Vakatawa says he is excited to join Bristol Bears and to be continuing his rugby career at the highest level.
He says after working with Lam during his time with the Barbarians, he knew that this was the right place for him, and he could not wait to play in front of the Bristol fans.
The 31-year-old says the Premiership has always been an exciting competition, so he is looking forward to experiencing it this season and representing the Bears in the Champions Cup.
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