All Black Bird one of eight new Racing recruits

Le Plessis-Robinson (France) (AFP) –


Twice-capped All Black lock Dominic Bird was unveiled as one of eight new recruits by beaten European Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 on Wednesday.

Bird, 27, will leave the Chiefs and comes in to replace retiring Argentinian veteran Patricio Albacete.

Racing, surprisingly beaten by Castres in the Top 14 semi-final, also announced the signatures of Fijian fly-half Ben Volavola from Bordeaux-Begles and a second No 10 in Raphael Lagarde from second division club Bayonne.

The duo will vie for a starting place with Scotland's Finn Russell, the big-name replacement for the departing All Black legend Dan Carter and France international Remi Tales, with Springbok Pat Lambie out with a long-term injury.

Club president Jacky Lorenzetti confirmed the arrival of Ireland back Simon Zebo from Munster and twice-capped France flanker Fabien Sanconnie from relegated Brive.

Also signed up are Dax centre Olivier Klemenczak and 17-year-old Massy flanker Jordan Joseph, currently on duty with France at the under-20 world championships.

Yannick Nyanga, who has retired at the age of 34 after 46 caps for France at flanker, has been incorporated as the club's sporting director under the leadership of co-coaches Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers, Lorenzetti said.

Nyanga will join forces with former Racing teammates Chris Masoe and Casey Laulala, two former All Blacks who also saw out the end of their respective careers at Racing but have been taken on as coaching assistants.