Rugby-All Blacks centre Laumape signs with Stade Francais

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Italy v New Zealand - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - November 24, 2018 New Zealand's Ngani Laumape runs in to score a try REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

(Reuters) - Explosive New Zealand centre Ngani Laumape has signed with Stade Francais and will join the French club after the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.

The Wellington Hurricanes juggernaut played two tests for the All Blacks last year but has struggled to nail down a spot in a crowded midfield, with selectors opting for Jack Goodhue.

Goodhue's season-ending injury sustained last month might have opened the door for 28-year-old Laumape but the rugby league convert will report at Stade from July 1, the Parisian club said.

Laumape will replace France centre Gael Fickou, who is leaving Stade at the end of the season.

The New Zealander was among five recruits Stade confirmed late on Monday, including England rugby sevens player Harry Glover.

The All Blacks are slated to host Italy in two tests in July and one against Fiji, though the Italians are expected to pull out of the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand media reported last week.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Richard Pullin)

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