Taranaki lock Nemia Soqeta has picked up a short-term contract with Top 14 French club side Oyonnax.
Soqeta, 28, left for France this month after gaining permission from Taranaki Rugby to take up the contract.
Used sparingly off the bench for Taranaki during this year's National Provincial Championship campaign, the lock, who can also play No 8, made just two starts in seven appearances.
Clifton coach Ian Snook believed Soqeta had taken up a three-month contract and hoped he would be back to play some part in his side's senior A campaign.
He must be back in New Zealand by June to qualify to play in the NPC.
The 1.96m, 114kg Soqeta was an influential figure for Clifton throughout the 2013 season but missed the final after he badly cut his hand lifting a fridge a couple of days out from the Taranaki club showpiece.
The injury also hampered his involvement at the start of Taranaki's campaign.
Oyonnax are 13th in the Top 14 with a six-win, seven-loss record.
They won promotion to the top flight of French rugby after winning the Pro D12 competition last season.
The squad contains several fringe France internationals, without the higher profile players of other French Top 14 clubs.
They are coached by Christophe Urios.
Soqeta is no stranger to playing overseas having spent two years in Japan.
- © Fairfax NZ News