Former Kiwi international, NRL stalwart set for France return after successful RFL Championship stint – reports

Ben Olawumi
Dean Whare

Dean Whare in action for Catalans Dragons in 2021 - Alamy

Dean Whare is set for a return to the French Elite Championship following his departure from London Broncos, according to reports from across the Channel.

Former Catalans Dragons ace Whare joined the Broncos midway through the 2023 season following the end of the French Elite‘s 2022/23 campaign, which he’d spent with Pia Donkeys.

With 12 tries in just 13 appearances, including one against Toulouse Olympique in October’s play-off final, the veteran helped fire Mike Eccles’ men to promotion back to Super League.

The 33-year-old had already played in a Super League Grand Final for Catalans, and an NRL Grand Final for Penrith Panthers, featuring for both the Panthers and Manly Sea Eagles Down Under at the beginning of his career.

Former Kiwi international, NRL stalwart set for France return after successful RFL Championship stint – reports

19-time New Zealand international Whare – who will turn 34 next week – though opted not to remain with the Broncos for their top flight return, with French news outlet Treize Mondial now reporting that he’s all set for a return to Pia Donkeys.

The Donkeys sit 6th in the French Elite table after 10 games, occupying the last play-off spot. Last weekend, in their first league game since the winter break, the four-time champions beat Catalans’ youngsters – Saint-Estève XIII Catalan – 28-18.

Roughly translated, Treize Mondial wrote: “The New Zealand centre is back in France and it is more precisely on Pia’s side that he returns for the end of the Elite 1 season.

Dean Whare is back and will play the second half of the season with the Donkeys. The centre left at the end of last season to join London Broncos to finish the Championship season.

“After contributing to the Championship play-off title and the rise of the capital club, Whare did not extend his contract to stay with the club in Super League and decided to return to Pia.

“Already present last Sunday during the derby, Whare should soon resume training under the command of (Pia head coach) Thomas Valette.

“With Valentin Zafra having injured his ribs during the derby, the arrival of Whare provides a solution for the Pia staff.”

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