Rhys Webb released from Toulon contract to move back home to Wales and reignite international career

Jack de Menezes
The Independent
Rhys Webb will leave Toulon at the end of the season to return to Wales: AFP via Getty
Rhys Webb will leave Toulon at the end of the season to return to Wales: AFP via Getty

Toulon have agreed to release Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb from the final year of his contract, paving the way for the 31-cap international to return to Wales next summer.

The 31-year-old left Ospreys in 2018 to take up a lucrative contract with French giants Toulon, even though his tally of caps fell well short of the 60-cap threshold that the Welsh Rugby Union introduced into their selection policy during his negotiations.

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The move cost Webb a place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup as he was ineligible for Warren Gatland’s squad, but there were difficulties much closer to home as his family failed to settle in the south of France, prompting their return to Wales earlier this year.

As a result, Webb has asked to be released from the final year of his contract that was due to expire in 2022, a request which the Top 14 club has accepted.

“I would like to thank the club for the welcome and support it has given me since I joined last season,” Webb said in a statement. “It has been and remains an honour to play for this great club. I’ve loved all the time I’ve spent here and I would especially like to thank my teammates, coaches, supporters and all those who are now for me as family and friends for life.

“It was difficult for me to be away from my family and my young children. From now on, I am determined to give my best for the club until the end of the season and I hope that we will obtain the victories that the club deserves. "

Toulon have confirmed that he will be released at the end of the current season, though where he will end up next remains to be seen as the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Ospreys all currently have international scrum-halves to select in Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams and Aled Davies respectively, with the trio selected in Wayne Pivac’s first Wales squad last month.

It's been previously reported that both the Ospreys and the Dragons, the sole remaining Welsh region in the Pro14, are keen on signing Webb once he becomes available.

Webb was contracted to Toulon until 2022 (Getty)
Webb was contracted to Toulon until 2022 (Getty)

It is the second time in three seasons that Toulon have agreed to release a British export from their contract early, having also agreed to England wing Chris Ashton’s request in 2018 to leave the club after just one season in France in order to return home with his family and reignite his international career.

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