Leone Nakarawa to leave Glasgow for club in France

Leone Nakarawa in action for Glasgow
Nakawara has been a powerful presence for Glasgow

Glasgow Warriors have announced that influential Fiji international second row Leone Nakarawa is to leave at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old had another year left on his deal but is moving to France, with Racing Metro keen on the player.

Prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa and flanker Tyrone Holmes are also leaving, while hooker Kevin Bryce will join Edinburgh.

"These type of opportunities only come around once and I couldn't turn it down," said Nakarawa.

"This is a new challenge which I'm looking forward to, but that is next season and my focus just now is trying to retain the Pro12 trophy and end my time at the club on a high.

"Glasgow Warriors have helped me a lot with the coaches and backroom staff improving my game and making me stronger."

'Nakarawa deal allowed us to strengthen squad'

Nakawara, who has played 66 games since joining Glasgow in 2013, turned in a man-of-the-match display in last season's Pro12 final, as Glasgow overpowered Munster.

"Leone has attracted a lot of interest from other clubs due to the form he's been in over the last year," head coach Gregor Townsend explained.

"During the World Cup a lot of clubs were interested in signing him and although we were looking to retain him, we have now agreed to let Leone leave a year early.

"Right from when there was interest in him I've been fully involved with Scottish Rugby in the discussions with Leone and his agent, and the deal which was subsequently agreed has allowed us to strengthen our squad for next season.

"Leone has been a fantastic player for the club and has been a pleasure to coach. He has worked hard and developed into one of the best second rows in the world during the past three years.

"We are looking forward to Leone delivering similar performances as we enter a very exciting run of games at the end of this season."

Glasgow, two points behind Leinster and Connacht at the top of the Pro 12, host Italian side Zebre on Friday, 29 April before concluding the regular season away to Connacht on 7 May.

Bryce switches from hooker to tight-head

Kevin Bryce in action for Glasgow
Kevin Bryce has played 12 games for the Warriors since joining in 2013

Bryce, whose brother Glenn is also moving from Warriors to Edinburgh next season, will switch from hooker to tight-head prop with the capital outfit.

The decision evolved following last year's World Cup, when he won the last of this three Scotland caps as a replacement against the USA.

"The more I thought about and discussed it, the more I thought it would be the right move," said the 27-year-old.

"It's not massively different, just a matter of making a number of technical adjustments. My dad [Jock, who helped Heriot's win the Scottish club championship in 2000], made the move from flanker to loose-head during his playing days so it's not so unusual to make some sort of change."

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons added: "It is terrific news for the club. He is an abrasive, physical player who will fit in well at Edinburgh."

Confirmed Glasgow departures (appearances in brackets): Duncan Weir (106), Leone Nakarawa (66), Mike Cusack (48), Taqele Naiyaravoro (20), Jerry Yanuyanutawa (46), Tyrone Holmes (34), Glenn Bryce (15), Kevin Bryce (12), Will Bordill* (7), Shalva Mamukashvili (6), Fergus Scott (3), Gregor Hunter* (2), Jason Hill* (0) and Javan Sebastian* (0). *Partnership players.

Retiring: James Eddie (126), Mike Blair (12).