May to leave Falcons
Long-serving Newcastle back Tom May has agreed to join an unnamed French club.
Last Updated: 21/04/09 8:19pm
Tom May will leave Newcastle Falcons at the end of the season to join an unnamed French club.
May, 30, has made 264 appearances and scored 500 points for the Falcons but could not resist the temptation of a move across the Channel.
The versatile back's destination has yet to be confirmed although he has been repeatedly linked with Toulon, a club that has also been in talks with his Newcastle team-mate Jonny Wilkinson about a possible move.
"This opportunity has arisen quite unexpectedly over the past few months and I would like to stress that my decision to leave Newcastle in no way reflects the esteem in which I hold the club, the players or the management," May said.
"At 30 years of age I was never going to get an opportunity like this again to go and experience something new and I leave Newcastle on the best possible terms.
"I would like to thank (director of rugby) Steve Bates and (chairman) Dave Thompson for their understanding in allowing me to take up this chance and again emphasise that my decision is in no way a reflection on the club's ambition or commitment for success in the future.
"I don't regret a single moment of my time at Newcastle, the club has a clear plan which it is pursuing and I am confident in its future success."
Along with May and Wilkinson, Falcons and England centre Jamie Noon is also considered likely to join the exodus to the Top 14, probably to Brive.
The absence of a salary cap has tempted a host of international stars to leave the Guinness Premiership.
But Bates, who has already signed up James Hudson and Josh Afu for 2009-10, insists his plans for next season are far from in turmoil.
He said: "My first full season in charge of the club has given us the ideal opportunity to take stock ahead of what is a crucial rebuilding stage.
"Such a major change is not possible in just one season but we are confident that, with the progress we are making on the recruitment front, we can lay very solid and exciting foundations for the future."