Drew Mitchell to quit Waratahs for Toulon

Wallaby and Waratahs winger Drew Mitchell will leave Australian rugby at the end of the 2013 test season to take up a two-year contract with French side Toulon.

The Australian Rugby Union confirmed that the 63-test veteran has decided not to renew his contract with the Waratahs.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mitchell has also confirmed that he had agreed to join Toulon where he will join his former Wallaby and Western Force team mate Matt Giteau at the French Top 14 club.

“I just feel it’s the right time for me,” Mitchell said.

“It’s a great opportunity to experience a different culture, to challenge myself in a different environment.”

Speaking on Twitter Mitchell said, “Addressing the boys this morning was 1 of the toughest discussions Ive had, pretty hard to control the quivering lip but it means alot to me.”

Mitchell’s contract with Toulon will end half way through the 2015 Southern
Hemisphere season so he could return to Australia and play the final rounds
of Super Rugby and mount a late bid for World Cup selection.

“As far as looking any further about World Cups, that hasn’t even been
a thought in my mind,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that his omission from this week’s Wallabies logistics camp was
not a factor in his decision and he still hopes to play for Australia this season.

“This (moving to Toulon) has been in discussion for a little while now,”
Mitchell told AAP.

“(Wallabies coach) Robbie (Deans) made it very clear to me the reasons
as to why I was left out of the squad and by no means does that mean there’s
no way for me to work my way back into the squad in the next six weeks or so.

“I certainly don’t want this to be seen as me turning my back on the Wallabies
or the Waratahs because playing for Australia means everything to me and I’ve
really enjoyed my time at the Waratahs.”

The ARU said Mitchell remains available for the three-test British and Irish Lions tour in June and July and the Rugby Championship later in the year. His ARU contract expires on Dec. 31.

Mitchell, who made his Super rugby debut in 2004 with Queensland, is Australia’s second-highest Rugby World Cup try scorer with 10, equal with David Campese and one behind Chris Latham.

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