Kurtley Beale will leave a big void at the Waratahs when he joins French team Racing 92 next season, skipper Rob Simmons says.
The French team confirmed the acquisition of Beale and Rebels flanker Luke Jones in a video on their social media channels on Tuesday morning (AEST) as part of a wider squad update.
Beale will join the team on a two-year deal starting next season in what will be his second Northern Hemisphere stint.
It will be Beale's second overseas stint after the utility back spent a season with Wasps in 2017.
His departure leaves former skipper Michael Hooper as the only survivor from the Waratahs' 2014 Super Rugby championship season.
Simmons said Beale's departure would leave a void in the team but hoped they would be able to give him a positive farewell when domestic rugby returns later this year.
"That’s huge news for us. We’re going to miss him," he said.
"A player like that, he’s got great experience, he’s done a lot for this club, he is the most capped Waratah in history, so to lose someone like that is huge and I suppose this next little bit in this competition, whatever does get off the ground, it will be a good chance for him to send us off."
Jones has spent the past two seasons with the Rebels but he is also no stranger to rugby overseas.
The lock spent three years with Bordeaux and his form with the French club impressed plenty in Australia and overseas.
Jones ultimately returned to Australia for a tilt at the 2019 Rugby World Cup but just missed out on the final squad.
"We've tried to mix youth and experience in positions where we haven't managed to pull through from our academy," sporting director Yannick Nyanga said.
"We have two premium signings who will bring some experience and their ability," he added.
Beale, who earlier in the season admitted he was in inconsistent form in Super Rugby, was reportedly on the outer when it came to national selection.
Both players are expected to play out an amended Super Rugby season before departing.
It is hoped that a domestic Super Rugby competition featuring the four Australian Super Rugby franchises, the Western Force and potentially the Sunwolves will kick off on July 4.
The Waratahs returned to training on Tuesday in the first major step towards a competitive return.
As part of the announcement, coach Laurent Travers also announced that Fiji flyhalf Ben Volvavola was leaving the club and moving to Perpignan on a loan deal.