Five players who flourished in France
Jonny Wilkinson (34, Toulon)
Injury was a constant problem for Wilkinson during his time in the English Premiership with Newcastle, but he has thrived during his five years at Toulon. Won a Heineken Cup medal last season and was named ERC European Player of the Year.
The revered French No 8 will be 34 next month and intends to retire at the end of the season. Has been with Biarritz since 2004 and was the only northern hemisphere player shortlisted for the IRB Player of the Year award in 2010.
(37, CLERMONT AUVERGNE)
The former Scotland lock was a Heineken Cup winner with Leinster before joining Clermont in 2011. Still considered an important figure in their expensively assembled squad despite closing in on middle-age.
The fearsome Springbok looked to be at the end of his career in South Africa before joining Toulon in 2011. Arrived in France as what is known as a 'medical joker,' yet has thrived and won a Heineken Cup medal last season.
(35, CLERMONT AUVERGNE)
The hard-nosed Canadian with a lurid disciplinary record has been playing in France for the last decade. He won a Top 14 title with Clermont in 2010 and, a year later, starred for his country at his third World Cup.