Barba in Toulon for the long haul

by staff

Ben Barba's Toulon stint could go from short-term to two-and-a-half years, after the fullback reportedly agreed to a long-term deal with the French club.

After a public back and forth with the NRL on Wednesday, in which the governing body announced any punishment for his positive drug test would remain only as long as he was in the NRL, meaning he couldn't use a French sojourn to bypass a 12-week suspension, only delay it.

Ben Barba won the NRL Premiership with Cronulla in 2016. Photo: Getty ImagesBarba reportedly informed Cronulla officials this morning of his decision to take up a two-and-a-half year contract with French giants, Toulon, 

The 2016 Premiership player told reporters on Wednesday that he had to make the best decision for his family and conceded he may never play in the NRL again.

Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman seemed resigned to losing the enigmatic fullback, speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

The move means Barba could line up for Toulon as early as next week's Brisbane Tens, despite not being named in the team's initial squad for the tournament.

Duco Events on Wednesday confirmed he would be issued a formal invitation to play in the tournament if they wish.

Toulon's next Top 14 match is on February 18 against Lyon.