Zimbabwe-born Australian rugby star Kyle Godwin is set to leave Western Force the club at the end of the Super Rugby Pacific season to join French Top 14 side, Lyon.
Godwin rose through the ranks at the Perth-based franchise to make his Super debut as a 19-year-old in 2012.
He has since gone on to notch 100 Super appearances, 76 of which have been for the Force, where he is now the vice-captain.
Godwin moved to the Brumbies for a two-year stint at the end of 2016 and then spent time in Ireland before re-joining the Force in 2020.
The 29-year-old, who notched his one and only Test for the Wallabies in 2016, said it was a tough decision to leave his hometown club.
“I left no stone unturned in my decision-making process and have ruminated over it for a considerable amount of time,” Godwin said in an interview with 7news.com.au.
“It is the right time in my career for a new experience and to take on a new challenge.
“I’ve loved every minute at the Force. They have given me the opportunity to live out my childhood dreams and nurtured me throughout my entire career, which I’m eternally grateful for.
“The club is moving in an exciting direction with an abundance of young homegrown talent rising through the ranks and I know the future is bright for the Force.”
Goodwin’s move to France comes at a time Zimbabwe has launched an ambitious bid to lure him to represent his country of birth in the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers to be held in France in July.
Despite having been already capped by Australia, Harare-born Goodwin now qualifies to switch back allegiance to his country of birth due to changes to the World Rugby’s international eligibility rules.
If Zimbabwe rugby authorities manage to convince Goodwin to switch switches international allegiance to the Sables, he could team up with his Western Force teammate Ian Prior, who has previously shown interest to play for the Sables.
Prior was born in Australia, but grew up in Zimbabwe from the age of three after his parents moved to the country in 1993.