Northampton Saints can confirm that Dan Biggar will depart the Club with immediate effect, at the fly-half’s request.
The Club announced earlier this month that the 33-year-old Wales international would be leaving cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens at the end of the 2022/23 campaign, but Biggar now joins French Top14 side RC Toulon effective from the start of November.
He pulled on the Black, Green and Gold jersey 69 times, scoring 614 points in total, with his last game for Saints coming in Northampton’s 40-36 win over Wasps.
“Dan has been an exceptional servant to Northampton Saints; he is a player of proven international quality but has also been a leader within our group and he will be missed by the squad, staff and supporters here,” said Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson.
“While we’re losing him earlier than expected, we respect that he has been presented with a unique long-term opportunity in France and has made a decision with the future of his family in mind, so we did not want to stand in his way.
“Dan is a great man, and we wish him and his family the very best for the future.”
Saints’ Chief Executive, Mark Darbon, added: “Given the circumstances – with Dan’s contract ending at the end of the season, his availability for the rest of the current campaign, the multi-year offer to Dan from Toulon which was contingent on him moving immediately, and the quality of the up-and-coming fly-halves already at the Club – we wanted to be pragmatic when Dan approached us.
“Dan’s not just a world-class player, he’s also one of the nicest blokes you could meet. He’s someone who always did everything he could to help the Club, on and off the pitch. So, we’ll miss him, but he departs with our very best wishes.”
During his time at Saints, Biggar guided the Club to two top-four finishes in the Gallagher Premiership in four seasons, using his experience to help develop Northampton’s young squad.
He also brought up 100 international caps, was named Wales captain, claimed two Six Nations titles (including one Grand Slam) with his country, and toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions as a Northampton player.
Commenting on his decision, Biggar said: “As I said on the initial announcement of my departure, it has been a privilege to play for Northampton Saints and I have loved every minute of my time at the Club.
“I know this is a squad which can challenge for major honours this season, so this has been a very difficult decision for me to make. I move on with a heavy heart and I am grateful to the Club for their understanding throughout the process.
“I never envisaged leaving Saints midway through the season, but this opportunity came around very quickly, and I made my decision with a long-term view in mind for my family.
“Saints is a Club which is full of great people from top to bottom, and I wish I could have played more in Black, Green and Gold over the last four seasons. I’ll really miss playing at Franklin’s Gardens and I’ll certainly be back to support the lads when I am able.”
Saints’ Chairman, John White, added: “Dan has always gone above and beyond in his time as a Saint so we’ll all miss him around the Club, but we wish him and his family well for whatever the future holds for them in France.”