Toulon star Matt Giteau commits to move to Japan at the end of the season

The 34-year-old says his time in France is the best of his career but wants his family to be closer to Australia

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 6:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 6:16pm

Matt Giteau on Monday announced his departure from Toulon at the end of the French Top 14 season to embark on a new chapter in his career in Japan.

“Taking this decision was the most difficult of my rugby career but it’s the best for my family to be closer to Australia,” the Wallaby playmaker explained in an Instagram post in French.

The 34-year-old, dubbed “the boss” by Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal and a key figure in Toulon’s three European titles, added: “I want to say a big thank you to the players [with whom I’ve made life long friendships] ... the coaches, the president, and backroom staff since 2011.

“I owe a great deal to you all. I want to also thank the Toulon fans who will remain in my heart.”

Giteau has only recently returned to full fitness after five months sidelined with a broken ankle and leg fracture he suffered while playing for the Wallabies against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

He described his spell at Toulon, the club he joined in 2011, as “the best period of my rugby career”.

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He told his French fans: “My main objective now is to win titles for this historic club.”

Giteau won three consecutive European crowns with Toulon from 2013 to 2015, and the Top 14 title in 2014.