Paris - Australia loose forward Scott Higginbotham says joining Bordeaux-Begles, unbeaten in the French Top 14 so far this season, was 'fate' ahead of hosting Stade Francais on Saturday.
Higginbotham, 33, who made the last of his 34 Wallabies Tests appearances two years ago, signed for the Stade Chaban-Delmas side this summer eight years on from his first contact with the club.
"Back then I had talked to Bordeaux and funnily enough Laurent Marti was also the owner then," Higginbotham told AFP.
"When the opportunity came up I decided it was fate that it would come up again and funnily enough talking to Laurent he remembers trying to sign me all those years ago," he added.
The side based from the French southwest, trail Lyon on points difference at the top of the table.
The have dispatched champions Toulouse, three-time European Cup winner Toulon, as well as Castres an almost perfect start under new coach Christophe Urios.
Higginbotham compares Urios, who lifted the Top 14 title in 2018 with Castres, to his former boss at the Reds Ewan McKenzie, who claimed the Super Rugby crown eight years ago.
"They're both very smart coaches. It's one thing to coach rugby but there are some people who just understand the game better," he said.
"There's being able to be a bit of a player-manager as well as a coach," he added.
Higginbotham praised 20-year-old France international flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert, who has three tries this season and leads all Top 14 scorers with 46 points.
"He's been a real stand-out for me, a fantastic player, and has some great skills," he said.
"It's fantastic seeing a player like that, guys that are so young being able to do those things on the field that not a lot of other guys would be able to do," he added.
Elsewhere, 20-time French champions Toulouse head to La Rochelle for the opening game on Saturday, looking for only their second victory of their defence of the title.
Later in the day, Lyon face Brive, who gained their first win since promotion in the 100th central France derby over Clermont last weekend.
On Sunday, Agen play Montpellier and Racing 92 head to Toulon who have signed one-time South Africa scrumhalf Louis Schreuder as cover for injuries and players at the Rugby World Cup.