Rory Arnold to join Toulouse

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies lock Rory Arnold is off to France after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, signing a deal with Top 14 side Toulouse.

Arnold has knocked back French overtures in the past but this time he has opted to move offshore.

The 28-year-old has 19 Wallabies caps so a shift to France would end his Test career after next year's World Cup in Japan.

Arnold has developed into one of the Brumbies' best players since his 2015 Super Rugby debut, winning the club's Brett Robinson award this season, and would be well and truly in the mix for next year's Rugby World Cup in a deep second row department.

He has been in and out of the Wallabies' 23 since his debut and an unfortunate fractured cheekbone suffered in training ended his 2018 Spring Tour early.

His rise is all the more remarkable given his late switch into rugby after growing up in Murwillumbah playing mainly rugby league.

Arnold said the call wasn't an easy one but he was glad to have it sorted before the 2019 season began.

Rory Arnold will start alongside twin Richie on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images"I’ve come to the decision that the 2019 season will be my last in Canberra. It was a very hard decision to make," he said.

"The Brumbies have been great to me on and off the field and I’ll always be grateful for that. I believe the timing is right to move on after this season and experience something new. Now that I’ve made my decision, I’m looking forward to the 2019 season and the future."

Arnold is unlikely to be the only high-profile Brumbies player being chased by overseas clubs.

Winger Henry Speight and Christian Lealiifano have both had successful short-term stints overseas in recent years and would be in the frame for a return, while flanker David Pocock played the better part of two seasons with japanese side Panasonic during his Australian rugby sabbatical and would be in high demand off shore.

Plenty of moves are already being made by European clubs to secure players once the World Cup is over, with a host of high profile All Blacks already confirming their departures and Reds playmaker Duncan Paia'aua signing with Toulon for 2019-2020 and beyond.

The Brumbies take on the Rebels at Viking Park on Saturday January 26 2019 in their first Super Rugby trial.