Tim Nanai-Williams leaving Chiefs after 2018 season to join French club Clermont Auvergne on three-year deal

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NZN

French club Clermont Auvergne has strengthened its New Zealand connection by signing Tim Nanai-Williams to a three-year contract.

Tim Nanai-Williams gets his pass away.
Chiefs v Crusaders at the ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Fiji, Round 13 of the 2017 Super Rugby season. 
19 May 2017.
Copyright photo: Bruce Southwick / www.photosport.nz

Chiefs back Tim Nanai-Williams gets his pass away against the Crusaders.

Source: Photosport

Samoan international Nanai-Williams, a long-serving utility back with the Chiefs and Counties Manukau, will take up his new deal at the end of next year's Super Rugby season.

The 28-year-old is a welcome addition to the Top 14 defending champions, Clermont director of rugby Franck Azema said.

"We are convinced that this is a player who will surprise in our championship and whose profile perfectly corresponds to the philosophy of movement game that we have developed here in Clermont for several seasons," he said.

Azema compared Nanai-Williams to another Clermont utility back, 35-Test former All Black Isaia Toeava, describing both as versatile and "extremely technically talented".

Toeava, 31, this week extended his contract by another two seasons.

Those deals counter the bad news to hit the club this week when former All Blacks back Luke McAlister suffered a hand fracture which will sideline him for two months.

Meanwhile, Azema talked up the value of having All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster spending several days at the club last week.

Foster, who has previously visited the central France club, returned in the immediate wake of New Zealand's European tour to exchange ideas about attacking rugby, Azema said.

"Ian is in search of what he could bring more to his team, a detail, a behaviour, a way of doing things.

"His approach is completely focused on sharing and that is why it works and we do not hesitate to be completely transparent and authentic."

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