Kiwi wing David Smith – the leading try scorer in the Top 14 this season – has confirmed that he will leave Toulon at the end of the year.
Smith has been in excellent form for the defending French and European champions, scoring four tries in Toulon's win over Brive last weekend.
He tops the French league's try-scoring charts with 12 tries in 13 games. The former Hurricanes, Blues and Force wing joined Toulon in 2011 and has played over 100 games for the club.
But the Samoan-born speedster is set to pay the price for Toulon's panache for recruiting overseas stars as rules enforcing quotas of players from French academies means RCT are not in a position to offer the 28-year-old a new contract next season.
French clubs are required to have squads made up of at least 60 percent of Joueur Issu des Filières de Formation (JIFF) – a player (of any nationality) that has spent as least three seasons at a certified French rugby academy.
"I'm going to miss everyone. I'm a little sad but c'est la vie," said Smith after hearing Toulon fans chant his name during the Brive match.
Smith is a favourite amongst the fans at Stade Felix Mayol, who have rallied in recent days on social networks to try to influence the club's decision.
Toulon manager Bernard Laporte admitted that Smith is an "excellent player" and that the club would be sad to see him go.
"Of course we would like to keep him," said Laporte.
"David, you know the problem is the JIFF. In certain positions you need to make a choice. French players are under contract [elsewhere] so we can't have them so there's just not enough room [for Smith]."
Smith is behind the likes of Springbok wing Bryan Habana in the Toulon pecking order.