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Sekope Kepu and Nic White are the latest Wallabies to announce they will abandon Australian rugby after this year’s World Cup.
Starting prop Kepu has signed a three-year deal to join Bordeaux-Begles, who last month unveiled the key signing of Adam Ashley-Cooper on a similar deal.
White, meanwhile, will link up with French rivals Montpellier to be coached by his former Brumbies mentor Jake White on a two-year contract, with an option in his favour to extend it by another season.
Ashley-Cooper, Kepu’s teammate at the Super Rugby champion Waratahs, announced his intentions in December on the same day former skipper James Horwill signed off on his move to English side Harlequins.
Kepu, 28, has been capped 52 times by Australia and is sure to be a key figure in Michael Cheika’s plans for the World Cup in the UK later this year, while 24-year-old White, 19 caps, will be in the mix for a spot after featuring on Australia’s recent spring tour.
Brumbies CEO Michael Jones says he was shocked an disappointed by the news of White’s departure from Australian rugby.
“We’re disappinted because Nic is a critical member of the squad, but the good thing is that he’s such a tenacious competitive bastard that it won’t affect his season and he’ll want to go out in style,” Jones said.
“He will still want to be a big part of the Wallabies in a World Cup year as well … he’s proud and that won’t change.
“We’re not expecting a massive exodus. Nic was just one with timing … I don’t think we could match what he was offered.”