Former All Black Piri Weepu will be looking for a new European club after being unexpectedly released by French side Oyonnax.
Weepu’s contract with the Top 14 club was terminated today, with no explanation offered for the 32-year-old’s axing.
“Oyonnax have ended Piri Weepu’s contract,” said a statement released by the team.
“The player is no longer part of the club’s professional squad.”
Such brevity may suggest a less than amicable split, with Weepu having played a minimal role in the current campaign.
Plagued by thigh and groin injuries since before the New Year, the former Hurricanes and Blues halfback has managed to start just five Top 14 matches throughout the season, having also made three appearances off the bench.
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Having been recruited to the club by former coach Olivier Azam before the start of the campaign, initially signing a two-year contract, Weepu failed to feature in Oyonnax’s last match, when last weekend they suffered a 24-23 defeat against Ulster in the European Cup.
Weepu had arrived in France after stints in England’s Premiership with London Welsh and Wasps, although the No 9 played sparingly for both sides.
He joined Oyonnax after making the most of a release clause in his contract with London Welsh, having endured a miserable season that saw the side sit bottom of the table without a win.
But his time in France was hardly any happier, with his release coming three months after Oyonnax failed to release him to play a part in the tribute match for fallen former team-mate Jerry Collins in Toulon.
Weepu still attended the game and offered his support from the sideline, tweeting, “Watched the boys pay tribute today for our fallen brother… Was good to come and support the boys…”
Weepu won 71 caps for the All Blacks between 2004 and 2013.