La Rochelle return to the Challenge Cup in 2018/19 after an impressive maiden European Rugby Champions Cup campaign last season, when they topped Pool 1 before losing 30-19 to Scarlets in the quarter-finals. Here we take a look at some of their close-season signings.

Lopeti Timani

The Australia back-row forward joins La Rochelle after spells at Super Rugby’s Waratahs and, most recently, the Rebels.

The 27-year-old, who has won 12 caps, is the brother of former Australia lock Sitaleki Timani. He currently plays for ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Marc Andreu

The 32-year-old wing has moved to La Rochelle after five seasons with Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 and previous stints at RC Toulon and Castres Olympique.

Andreu has an excellent record in European rugby, having scored 11 tries in 38 matches, including a spectacular effort against ASM Clermont Auvergne in last year’s Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Ihaia West

The 26-year-old fly-half spent last season at Super Rugby side Hurricanes, having completed four years at Auckland-based Blues.

West will be well known to fans of the British and Irish Lions, having scored the match-winning try and conversion for New Zealand at Eden Park in the first Test of the 2017 tour.

Sila Puafisi

The Tonga prop comes to La Rochelle after a spell at Brive, who were relegated from the TOP 14 last season.

The 30-year-old has played in the English Premiership for Gloucester Rugby and, more recently, in the PRO14 with Glasgow Warriors, featuring in three European quarter-finals, with the most recent coming in 2017 in a 38-13 Champions Cup defeat to eventual winners Sarace