French club Toulouse sign Waratah Burgess

by Staff Writer

Waratahs halfback Luke Burgess has agreed to join Toulouse next season, one of a host of signings announced on Wednesday by the French rugby club.

European champions Toulouse signed Burgess on a three-year deal commencing after this year's World Cup.

Burgess, who denied reports earlier this year he had signed with the French club, joins Kurtley Beale in deciding to leave the Waratahs at the end of the season.

Beale has signed with rival Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels.

Burgess, All Black Luke McAlister and South African Gurthro Steenkamp have all signed for three years with the Top 14 leaders, with Timoci Matanavou penning a two-year contract.

The four will join France fly-half Lionel Beauxis, who has also agreed a three-year deal, and Nicolas Bezy, Jean-Marc Doussain and Russlan Boukerou, who have signed their first professional contracts at their formative club.

Burgess, 27, will become the first Australian in over 60 years to play for Toulouse, replacing New Zealander Byron Kelleher.

New Zealand utility back McAlister, 27, has 30 caps for the All Blacks and played in the 2007 World Cup.

He returned to the Blues after a two-year spell with English side Sale between 2007 and 2009.

Prop Steenkamp, 30, voted South African player of the year in 2010, will also be heading to the southwest of France.

Fijian Matanavou, 26, is currently the top kicker in the French second division, where he has scored 16 tries in 25 games for Stade Montois, his club of the past three seasons.

Beauxis, 26, has played for Stade Francais since the 2006-2007 season, lining up in 120 Top 14 games. He has also won 15 caps for France, including the last World Cup.

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