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Vainikolo swaps Gloucester for France

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Lesley Vainikolo - Gloucester

Image credit: Empics

04/01/2012 at 18:25 | Updated 04/01/2012 at 18:47

England outcast Lesley Vainikolo has left Gloucester and signed for French second division club La Rochelle.

The Tonga born star, who can play on the wing or as a centre, joins the Pro D2 club with immediate effect and should start training with his new team early next week.

La Rochelle were relegated from the Top 14 last season and are currently tied for fourth in the Pro D2 table.

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Vainikolo played all five matches during England's 2008 Six Nations campaign but they are his sole appearances for the country, after he was frozen out as soon as Martin Johnson took over.

La Rochelle coach Fabrice Ribeyrolles said: "Lesley is the profile we are looking for. We have been thinking about strengthening our three-quarter line with a 'puncher' but we did not want to rush."

He added: "Lesley brings many features, he has an impressive ability both offensively and defensively, he is very physically fit and able to join us immediately.

"He showed a real desire to come and play at La Rochelle."

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