Bryan Habana, South Africa's prolific wing and record test try-scorer, has agreed to join the French club Toulon at the end of the Super 15.
Habana will move from the Cape Town-based Stormers on a three-year deal and link up with former Springbok teammates Joe van Niekerk and Bakkies Botha in the south of France.
Toulon entertain Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup but not the Blues back Jason Tovey, who could not travel to France after his dog Buster, a Labrador puppy, chewed up his passport. A Cardiff Blues spokesman said that Tovey was “in the doghouse”.
“It’s a bit like the old schoolboy excuse that the dog ate my homework,” Tovey told BBC Wales. “Buster is always chewing things, but usually it’s my sock and shoes. A soon as I saw the passport, I thought I would never get through airport security with it.
“I was dreading telling my team coach. I didn’t think anyone would believe,” he added.
Habana’s move, the subject of speculation in South Africa during the off-season, was announced yesterday by the Western Province Rugby Union, which oversees the Stormers, and on the 29-year-old player’s own website.
“I’ve had three great seasons in the Cape thus far and I am looking forward to finishing off on a high before taking on a new challenge overseas,” Habana said.
“Toulon has an incredible pedigree and some phenomenal players and working with everyone there is going to help me improve my game.”
Scotland’s interim head coach, Scott Johnson, has been hit with a second major blow after it was confirmed that Nick de Luca could miss most of the Six Nations. The Edinburgh centre faces around two months on the sidelines after he undergoes surgery to repair a fractured eye socket.
Johnson has already lost the services of the record-breaking scrum-half Mike Blair after he decided to retire from the international game earlier this week.