Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis has revealed that he was on the verge of signing with Toulon but decided to stay in South Africa to be close to his ill father.
Toulon had long been searching for a world-class hooker, with 57-cap Test veteran at the top of their wish list but were eventually forced to settled for his Sharks team-mate Craig Burden.
"I was on the verge of saying yes to Toulon," Du Plessis told Midi Olympique.
"Freddie (Michalak), Danie Rossouw and Juan Smith had me all said that Toulon was the best.
"I also noticed that since Bakkies (Botha) went to play in the Top 14, he has lost weight and has remained stronger than ever.
"It really tempted me. I refused because my father is very ill. I want him to spend the last days of his life alongside with his two sons."