Piri Weepu has joined a side in the sixth tier of French rugby as he tries to get his career back on track.
One of the heroes of the All Blacks’ 2011 Rugby World Cup win could play his first game for Saint Sulpice against Moissac on Monday (NZ time), if he gets clearance as he looks regain some match fitness and sign with a bigger club.
The 32-year-old was axed by Oyonnax last month, with the club giving no reason why his contract was terminated. It left the 71-test All Black without a club for the rest of the season and needing something to do. So he decided to play grassroots French rugby.
More than 100 people turned up to watch Weepu have his first training session with Saint Sulpice last Tuesday. Usually no-one watches the amateur team train.
“At this stage I’m just taking it step by step,” Weepu told local media.
“Just to be at the club and enjoy my time here, enjoy meeting new players and club members. “It’s just to get back to some intensity and if anything happens, it happens.
“If not, then oh well, at least I’m still having a bit of fun playing rugby.
“I’m happy to be here and to play rugby with amateurs who play sport simply for pleasure.”
The contact between Weepu and the club came through former All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu, a friend of Weepu’s who plays for Castres in the Top 14.