Bristol to lose Taumalolo

Bristol Rugby have confirmed that Tongan international Josh Taumalolo will be leaving the club at the end of the current season.

Josh was under contract through 2008-9 but asked the club if he could be released in order to spend more time with his family, who remain in Tonga.

He joined Bristol for the 2006-7 season following spells at Neath, Ebbw Vale, Sale, Bridgend, Harlequins and Coventry but now feels the need to return home:

“I am planning to finish this year,” said the 31-year-old.

“I want to go abroad. I have played in Britain for a long, long time and I need to go for a change. I would love to stay at Bristol but my family is now more important to me.”

Josh made 19 starts for the first XV in 2006-7, mostly at fullback, but has found game time more difficult to come by following the emergence of Luke Arscott as the first choice full back and has made just four starts so far in this campaign.

Taumalolo also prefers to play centre and knows his chances of winning the No 12 shirt at Bristol are slim.

“To be honest, I love it at Bristol. I really love it. The players, coaching staff and fans are good. It is OK at Bristol but I need to be with my family.”

Head Coach Richard Hill admits he is disappointed to be losing the Tongan but understands his reasons:

“Josh has played a big part in what we have achieved over the past couple of seasons. His contribution has been significant.”

“However, I know that he has been away from home for a long time now and misses his family. With that in mind and also Luke Arscott’s form at full back, we are granting his wish to leave.”

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