WALES star Taulupe Faletau is set to join Cardiff next season after confirming his exit from Bath.
The number eight has been in talks about a switch to the Arms Park after spending five seasons at the Rec.
Bath have confirmed that the 30-year-old is signing for “an unnamed Welsh side” in a bid to improve his chances of being a leading figure at the 2023 World Cup.
“I will miss the team and everyone at the club, but my heart is set on returning to Wales and hopefully continuing my international playing ambitions,” said Faletau. “It feels like the right time for me, and my family, to return home.”
Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper said: ‘It continues to be a privilege to work with Taulupe; he is a world-class number eight who makes a significant impact on the field.
“Taulupe leaves with our blessing, and we all wish him well for his future.”
The British & Irish Lions forward was unavailable for last weekend’s defeat to New Zealand because the fixture was held outside World Rugby’s official Test window.
Faletau has also been struggling with an ankle problem and after being almost indestructible at Rodney Parade has featured just 64 times for Bath because of injury misfortune.
A return to Wales will ensure 86-times capped Faletau would be able to play a full part in international campaigns and also be closely monitored by the Welsh Rugby Union conditioning team.
Cardiff have already signed flanker Thomas Young for next season and boast Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi, Shane Lewis-Hughes and Josh Turnbull in their squad, but a specialist number eight of Faletau’s quality would be a big boost.