Raiwalui heading for new life in France
May 17, 2007
Simon Raiwalui has confirmed that he is leaving Saracens to continue his playing career in France next season.
The 32-year-old, who captained the side to fourth place in the Guinness Premiership this season, admitted he had held a long term ambition to play in France and felt that the time was right for the move.
"My wife and I have always loved France and I'm at the point in my career now where if feels right to make the move," explained the Fijian who has also had spells at Sale Sharks and Newport.
"I've always wanted to play in France and I've twice had opportunities to make the move in my career. I've got three children and it will be fantastic for them to experience a new way of life, go to school in a new country and learn a new language. It's not really a decision based on rugby. For us, this is very much about a lifestyle change and the chance to experience a new culture. We're really looking forward to it."
The decision sees Simon call an end to his four year association with the Men In Black during which time he has made 112 appearances for Saracens and had two spells as captain.
"It's been a very good season for Saracens and there is great potential in this team to continue to develop and push for silverware," he added. "Looking at the signings who are coming into the club next season, the team will only improve and I really wish everyone connected with the club all the best. I've made some great friends and I'd like to say thank-you to the directors, coaches, players and supporters who have made me feel very welcome over what has been an enjoyable four years.
"I will certainly be keeping up to date with all the matches and watching as many of them as I can on television. The Saracens result will always be the first I will look for and I will be cheering on from afar."
Raiwalui joined Saracens from Newport in 2003 and was named club captain in his first season in which he was ever present. The powerful ball carrier enjoyed another spell as team captain this season.
Director of Rugby Alan Gaffney admitted that although he was disappointed to see Raiwalui leave the club, he understood his reasons. He said: "Simon's leadership qualities and performances have stood out both on and off the pitch this season. But this is a decision he has taken in the best interests of his family and I respect that. He and his family have a great opportunity to experience a different lifestyle and I, along with everyone at Saracens, wish them all the best with their new life."
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