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March 28, 2017 15:11

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19:33 30 January 2017

Rugby: Australian star Giteau heading to Japan, likely to Suntory: sources

TOKYO, Jan. 30, Kyodo

Wallabies centurion Matt Giteau said on Monday he is leaving Toulon at the end of the French Top 14 season to play in Japan.

While Giteau has not named a team, multiple sources have told Kyodo News the versatile 34-year-old back will sign with Suntory Sungoliath, who completed the Japanese league and cup double after beating Panasonic Wild Knights in Sunday's All-Japan Championship final.

"I want to announce that at the end of this season, I will leave to play in Japan," Giteau said on his Instagram account. "Making this decision was the toughest of my rugby career but it is the best for my family to be closer to Australia."

"I want to say a big thank you to the players, (who I have made lifelong friendships with), coaches, the president and staff behind the scenes since 2011. I owe a lot to you."

"I also want to say a big thank you to the Toulon fans who will remain in my heart for life. The time I spent in Toulon was the best period of my rugby career."

Neither Suntory nor Toulon have yet to comment. Giteau has 102 caps for Australia, according to the Australian Rugby Union, and would join his standout compatriots George Smith and David Pocock in the Top League.

==Kyodo

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