Ensor thought to be with Paris club

Tony Ensor.
Tony Ensor.
An Otago fullback has made the move to France but it is not the one everyone has feared.

Otago fullback Tony Ensor has travelled to France to chase a contract and is believed to have landed a deal with Top 14 club Stade Francais.

Ensor initially made the journey to France in the hope of getting a professional contract with a club.

There are professional teams in France below the Top 14 and plenty of opportunities for a playing deal.

But it is believed Ensor was contacted by Stade Francais assistant coach Greg Cooper, a former Otago and Highlanders coach, who has been appointed head coach of Stade Francais for next year.Ensor is believed to have penned a two year deal with the Paris-based club and left New Zealand late last month.

Stade Francais also has Wallabies halfback Will Genia and former All Blacks hooker Aled de Malmanche in its ranks.

The Parisian club has had a disappointing season, and sits 11th in the Top 14 league.

Ensor (25) first made his debut for Otago in 2012, where he had a stand-out year, with electric pace and swerve, as Otago made it all the way through to the ITM Cup championship final.

He was picked in the Highlanders wider squad the following year but made just the one appearance for the side in a disappointing season for the franchise.

His subsequent Otago career was blighted by knee and shoulder injuries.

He trained with the Highlanders at the start of the 2016 season as injury cover but was never added to the squad.

Ensor was at the end of a two-year contract with Otago last year and was looking to move on. Ensor and Otago did not get into any negotiations over a future deal as Ensor was looking elsewhere.

The former South Otago High School pupil was a player with plenty of speed and dash but his lightweight frame also made it tough for him at times in defence.

Otago and Highlanders fullback Ben Smith is the custodian from this neck of the woods who has been most prominently linked with a move to French club rugby.

Ambitious French club Pau has made a big money offer to Smith but the 30-year-old has yet to make announcement on where he is headed. He comes off contract at the end of the year.

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