1. ITV Report

Tonga'uiha to leave Northampton Saints for France

Soane Tonga'uiha, who's leaving Northampton Saints in the summer Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive

Northampton Saints prop forward Soane Tonga'uiha has confirmed he is leaving the Aviva Premiership club for France in the summer - but insists it's 'au revoir' rather than an absolute goodbye.

The 31 year old Tonga international is due to join Top 14 club Racing Metro, ending seven years at Franklin's Gardens.

"It was a difficult decision for myself and my wife to make, and it's one we didn't take lightly," said Tonga'uiha, who started his English career at Bedford Blues.

"I've been considering this over a few months to be honest, and we didn't get to a final decision until a couple of months ago. We were going back and forward and weighing up a few pros and cons."

Tonga'uiha also reassures Saints' fans that they haven't seen the last of him.

"Seven years is a long time in one place, and I feel that I've been here for such a long time that Saints has been a part of me," he added.

"Hopefully I'll get some time off during the season over in France to pop back whenever I can just to see how the boys are getting on."

Tonga'uiha, who almost joined Premiership rivals Saracens three seasons ago until he had a change of heart, lists the 2011 Heineken Cup final as one of his Saints' highlights despite losing to Leinster at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"Regardless of the result, I think getting to the final in the first place was one hell of an achievement that not many people expected, and we showed that we could do it." he added.

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