France international centre Virimi Vakatawa to leave Bristol

Bristol Bears Director of Rugby Pat Lam
Bristol Bears Director of Rugby Pat Lam
©Steve Haag

Bristol Bears have announced that France centre Virimi Vakatawa will be leaving the club this summer at the end of his contract.

Vakatawa joined Bristol in 2023 and on his only season he went on to make 19 appearances for them that includes 13 starts. He has scored four tries in it as well.

Prior to joining Bristol, the 32-year-old had a couple of stints with Racing 92 and announced retirement in September 2022 due to a heart condition. Nevertheless, he made a comeback joining Bristol last year and had represented France at the Test level as well as in the 7s format.

“Thank you to Pat for giving me the opportunity to come and play here in Bristol, it’s a great team and I’ve loved my time here, even though it’s for one season only," he told in a statement released by the club.

“The boys and everyone who works in the club has been so lovely and so welcoming to me since I first got here and I’m very grateful.

“Lastly to the fans: thanks for all your support throughout the year. I wish Pat and the boys all the very best in the future. Merci beaucoup.”

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam thanked Vakatawa for his contribution to the club in the last season.

“V made an outstanding impact on and off the field and repaid the faith the club showed in giving him an opportunity back in the professional game.

“To do what he has done through the challenges and obstacles following time away from the game shows the mark of the man. It’s been a real pleasure and privilege to have a player of V’s quality and experience play for the Bristol Bears.

“We all thank him for his commitment and efforts for the Bears and we wish him and his family all the best for the future.”