Winger Joe Tomane quits Brumbies for Montpellier
Last Updated: 05/07/16 7:32am
Australia international Joe Tomane is to join French club Montpellier when the current Super Rugby season ends.
The 26-year-old winger has been with ACT Brumbies for five years and admits he requires a new challenge in his career.
The New Zealand-born player said in an open letter to Brumbies' fans: "It was a very difficult decision to make but I feel the time is right to challenge myself and play rugby in a different environment.
"It is also an opportunity to live abroad and do what I love most, play rugby."
Australians based abroad are generally unable to represent their country, although the eligibility rules were relaxed last year for senior players.
Those who have pulled on a Wallabies jersey more than 60 times, and have held a professional contract with Australian rugby for at least seven years, can now play abroad as well as for the national team.
But this does not apply to Tomane who has played 17 times for Australia and his departure is a severe blow for the Wallabies.
Australia have lost several quality players to lucrative contracts overseas, in recent years, and Tomane added: "I hope that the possibility of returning to the Wallabies in the future is something that could happen.
"I have given my all to Australian rugby and have been lucky enough to represent the Wallabies at the rugby World Cup which is every young player's dream growing up.
"However, right now, my focus is doing everything I can to help the Brumbies in 2016 before my move to France."
When he arrives in the south of France he will link up with former Brumbies' coach Jake White, as well as former team mates Nic White and Jesse Mogg.
Brumbies' current coach Stephen Larkham said: "Whilst we are disappointed he will be leaving the club, there are limitations to what we are currently able to do if players garner overseas interest."