Cook Islands international Johnathon Ford seals return to France following Featherstone Rovers departure – reports

Ben Olawumi
Johnathon Ford

Johnathon Ford in action for Featherstone Rovers in 2023 - Alamy

Johnathon Ford has penned a deal running until the end of the 2023/24 season with French Elite Championship outfit Limoux Grizzlies following his departure from Featherstone Rovers, according to reports across the Channel.

The playmaker was one of 17 to leave Post Office Road in a mass exodus following Fev’s failure to seal promotion up to Super League, losing out in the play-off semi-finals on home soil to London Broncos having romped the Championship.

That exit tally yesterday crept up to 19 when the Rovers announced the departures of both Chris Hankinson – who appears to be Salford Red Devils-bound – and ex-Warrington Wolves youngster Ellis Longstaff, who is leaving rugby league behind, at least for the time being.

Due to injuries, Ford was restricted to just 20 appearances over the two years he spent with Featherstone, and at 34 now looks like he’s en-route back over to France.

Cook Islands international Johnathon Ford seals return to France with Limoux Grizzlies following Featherstone Rovers departure – reports

The nine-time Cook Islands international spent 11 years in the South of France with Toulouse Olympique prior to joining Featherstone.

His move over to West Yorkshire midway through the 2022 season came just a few months after he’d captained Toulouse to victory over the Rovers in the Million Pound Game.

Australia-born Ford did not make an appearance in Super League prior to his Olympique exit due to rulings surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic and vaccines, though does have three NRL appearances on his CV, made with Sydney Roosters at the start of his career before linking up with Toulouse.

French news outlet L’Independent now report that he has joined Limoux on a deal until the end of the season. The Grizzlies are yet to confirm his arrival themselves, though having featured in France for so long previously, it would come as no surprise to see Ford make his return to action there.

The veteran has previously starred in the French Elite Championship for Toulouse before they were permitted into the British rugby league pyramid.

In typical fashion, Limoux have a game on Saturday – December 9 – against none other than Toulouse’s feeder club, the Toulouse Olympique Broncos.

There is then a break in the schedule over the festive period, with the action returning on January 13 when the Grizzlies host Lezignan.

READ NEXT: Carcassonne confirm application to join League 1 with potential for a third French club in British rugby league pyramid