Skrela set for Clermont switch
January 31, 2011
Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher and fly-half David Skrela are both set to leave the club at the end of the season © Getty Images
Toulouse fly-half David Skrela and scrum-half Byron Kelleher have confirmed they will be leaving the French giants at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old Skrela, who joined the reigning Heineken Cup champions in 2008, has agreed a shock switch to Top 14 rivals Clermont Auvergne in a two-year deal with an option for a third. The international playmaker, who is in line to add to his 20 Test caps in this year's Six Nations, confirmed his decision to leave Toulouse following their 29-9 league victory over title rivals Montpellier last Thursday having failed to reach agreement with the club on a new deal.
"I am happy in Toulouse but their offer was not right while Clermont, who contacted me in late December, offered something more interesting," Skrela told La Montagne. "That is sport, but at the same time it will be heartbreaking to leave Toulouse. "
And Kelleher's departure has also been confirmed with club president Rene Bouscatel revealing that the former All Blacks international will not be offered a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Kelleher, who has been linked with a move to Bayonne, was sad at the prospect of leaving his "adopted" home but is determined to leave the club on a high. "I've found my roots in Toulouse which has become my adopted city," said the 34-year-old.
"I treasure above all the marvellous times spent here with my team and achieving my objectives of winning the French title and European Cup. I want to use my strong rapport with my team-mates and the fans to achieve the goals that remain for me at Toulouse - winning the 2011 title and European Cup."
Despite these two high profile departures, Toulouse have been busy building for the future and were boosted by the recent re-signing of captain Thierry Dusautoir, Patricio Albacete, Yannick Nyanga and Census Johnston. And another Kiwi, Luke McAlister and Stade Francais No.10 Lionel Beauxis have been tipped to fill the void left by Skrela.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"Wayne Barnes' decision to give Dylan Hartley his marching orders was brave but crucially it was the correct call." Graham Jenkins reports from the Premiership final
"We wanted to get the rugby spirit across to people, I firmly believe we have been in the thick of it." Tom Hamilton speaks to the ESPN crew on the final live broadcast
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown