Wales prop Tomas Francis has officially announced his move from the Ospreys to French outfit Provence Rugby.
The 71-cap tighthead’s departure from the Ospreys had been heavily trailed, with reports of a move to the Pro D2 team first being published at the start of June.
He had another year left on his Ospreys contract but the region’s bosses have agreed to allow his move abroad.
The 31-year-old is currently part of Warren Gatland’s World Cup training squad, with the move not making any difference to his Test eligibility as had been the case for another France-bound former Osprey Rhys Webb, who opted to retire from Test rugby in order to take up a contract overseas.
Francis, however, is harbouring hopes of playing in a third World Cup before his move across the English Channel.
“I have made the difficult decision to leave the Ospreys and pursue an opportunity abroad,” said Francis. “While this has not been an easy choice, I believe it is the right one for me and my family at this point in my career.
“It’s extremely sad to be leaving such a close-knit team, which is full of both great players and people. I’d like to thank the Ospreys coaching staff in my time here, especially Duncan Jones for teaching an old dog some new tricks. I’d also like to thank the wider Ospreys family for their support and trust in me as a player, and for allowing me to make this move.”
Francis joined the Ospreys from Exeter Chiefs in 2021, making 27 appearances for the Swansea side.
In a statement, the Ospreys thanked the prop for his contribution and wished him well for the future, with head coach Toby Booth explaining how they had allowed Francis to make the move.
“Franny came to us with a request to leave and we decided to act in the player’s best interest by allowing him to do so,” said Booth. “We respect his decision to leave the Ospreys and do what he believes is best for him and his family.”