Nick Abendanon to join French side Clermont Auvergne from Bath
Last Updated: 03/02/14 11:00am
Nick Abendanon: Will swap Bath for Clermont
Former England full-back Nick Abendanon will leave Bath at the end of the season to join French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne.
The 27-year-old, who won two caps for England in 2007, was contracted to Bath until June 2015, but the club have agreed to release him a year early with French club paying an agreed transfer fee.
His departure will be a blow to Bath but they have a ready-made replacement in young full-back Anthony Watson, whose form this season has seen him accelerated into England's Six Nations squad.
Abendanon has been a key player for Bath since making his debut in 2005, playing 193 first-team games for the club.
"I have loved every minute I have played for Bath and want to thank the club for giving me the opportunities they have," Abendanon said. "This has been an extremely hard decision for me, but I feel this is the right time to challenge myself in a new environment.
"I leave behind a set of fantastic fans and a club that I know will be competing for silverware in the coming seasons. I wish everyone at Bath the very best of luck."
Bath head coach Mike Ford said: "Nick has been a great player for Bath and we thank him for all he's done over the years.
"He felt it was time to go and that Clermont represented an opportunity he couldn't turn down.
"I know Nick will remain totally committed to our cause this season."