Wales international Taulupe Faletau to leave Bath at end of season

The Wales and British and Irish Lions forward looks set for a move to Cardiff.
Wales international Taulupe Faletau to leave Bath at end of season

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent

Bath have confirmed that Wales star Taulupe Faletau will leave the Gallagher Premiership club at the end of this season.

In a statement, Bath said that Faletau will be departing the Recreation Ground “for an unnamed Welsh side”.

But the PA news agency understands that the back-row forward is to join Cardiff, with an announcement expected by the Arms Park region later this week.

Faletau, who has won 86 caps and played in five British and Irish Lions Tests, is now with the Wales squad preparing for remaining Autumn Nations Series games against South Africa, Fiji and Australia.

He has not played so far this season due to an ankle injury, but would have been unavailable for Wales’ 54-16 defeat against New Zealand on Saturday.

That game fell outside World Rugby’s autumn international window, with English clubs not releasing Welsh players for such fixtures.

Faletau will become the latest high-profile capture for Cardiff after they signed fly-half Rhys Priestland from Bath earlier this year, while Wasps flanker Thomas Young is also on his way to the Arms Park next summer.

British and Irish Lions Training Sesssion – Hermanus High School
Taulupe Faletau training with the British and Irish Lions in South Africa (Steve Haag/PA)

Bath said: “The number eight has his sights set on the 2023 World Cup and will return to the Welsh region in order to put himself in the best possible position to perform for his country.”

And Faletau added: “I will leave Bath at the end of the season with fond memories, both professionally and personally, plus two Bath-born sons.

“Bath has been a brilliant club for me over the years and I owe it a lot.

“I will miss the team and everyone at the club, but my heart is set on returning to Wales and hopefully continuing my international playing ambitions. It feels like the right time for me and my family to return home.”

 

Bath rugby director Stuart Hooper said: “It continues to be a privilege to work with Taulupe. He is a world-class number eight who makes a significant impact on the field.

“As we develop our squad for 2022, a crucial factor is the availability of our players throughout the season.

“Having a squad that can compete during the international calendar is becoming fundamental as the quality of competition in the Premiership increases.

“Taulupe leaves with our blessing and we all wish him well for his future.”

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