Mathieu Bastareaud has confirmed he won’t play for Toulon again in 2019, but he still hasn’t revealed what exactly he will do with his time between now and his already agreed switch to Rugby United New York for the 2020 Major League Rugby season.
The French centre had assumed he would be going to the World Cup finals in Japan and had said his goodbyes to Toulon at the end of their 2018/19 season in May.
That assumption was torn asunder on June 18 when Jacques Brunel left Bastareaud out of the 31-strong France squad for the finals, the centre even failing to be included in the standby list of the players also announced.
That rejection has created much speculation as to what he will do in the next few months to take up his time.
In meetings with Toulon coach Patrice Collazo, president Mourad Boudjellal and recruitment manager Laurent Emmanuelli, it was decided by both sides to set July 8 as the deadline for a decision on whether he will return to his parent club before making the switch to the MLR.
Communiqué – Mathieu Bastareaud sur le départ ??https://t.co/jmVl6FSEEF
— RCT – RC Toulon (@RCTofficiel) July 9, 2019
That decision has now being made and Bastareaud will not be lining out for Toulon in the new season.
A club statement said: “Mathieu Bastareaud and Rugby Club Toulonnais decided, by mutual agreement, to put an end to the contract linking them for this season 2019-2020.
“Mathieu Bastareaud wanted to take up a new challenge for four months before joining Major League Rugby and the New York team.
“In accordance with the commitments made to his former captain, the club has decided to accept his request for release from the contract.
Big development in the chase for the big man's short-term signature ? https://t.co/r61zhBUInF
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 4, 2019
“Rugby Club Toulonnais thanks Mathieu Bastareaud for his eight consecutive seasons, for his investment and his respect for the institution.
“President Mourad Boudjellal and all at RCT wish him a very bright future and obviously opens the doors to a return in the 2020-2021 season.”
French media last week claimed Bastareaud had received a “concrete offer” to join the Irish side Munster, but it was felt that his former club Stade Francais or their Top 14 rivals Montpellier were leading the chase for his signature between now and the end of 2019.
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