Toulon sign Ali Williams to replace Kennedy

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Toulon have signed New Zealand lock Ali Williams as a replacement for Nick Kennedy, who asked to be released from his contract with the European champions.

Williams has agreed a one-year deal with Toulon, where he will form a formidable second-row combination with South African lock Bakkies Botha.

Kennedy initially found life difficult after joining Toulon from London Irish last summer, but he forced his way into the side and played in the 16-15 Heineken Cup final triumph over Clermont Auvergne.

Although Kennedy felt that victory ultimately justified his move to France, he handed in a transfer request.

“We did not want to keep a player against his will,” said Mourad Boudjellal, the club owner. “If the desire is not there, it is useless to hold someone against their will.”

Harlequins and London Irish could both be in the market for Kennedy if he decides to come back to the Premiership.