FORMER Scotland prop Euan Murray has left Glasgow Warriors to join French club Pau next season.
The 34-year-old recently announced his international retirement and has not featured in the latter stages of Glasgow’s glorious charge to the Guinness Pro12 title, his last appearance coming in the 21-10 loss to Ospreys in the penultimate week of the regular season.
Glasgow-born Murray made 86 appearances in a Warriors jersey over two stints with the club. The former pupil of Williamwood High School in Clarkston played for the Glasgow Southern and Glasgow Hawks clubs before representing the Warriors between 2003 and 2007.
Murray then had spells with Northampton Saints, Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors, as well as a short spell with another French club, Agen, in 2012.
The tighthead, who toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009, returned to his home city club in the summer of 2014 and has made ten starting appearances in this title-winning season.
Murray said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to play for Glasgow Warriors this past season and over the years.
“Returning to the club and the city, after almost seven years away, it’s incredible to see how much the Warriors have developed both on and off the field.
“There’s a special culture that exists at Scotstoun and I’m honoured to have been a part of the title-winning squad this season.
“I would like to thank everyone at Glasgow Warriors who has helped with my development and career, and I wish them all the very best in the future.”
Pau, also known as Section Paloise, are based in the south-western Pyrénées-Atlantiques area of France and have just been promoted back to the French Top 14 having earned automatic promotion by winning the Pro D2 and ending a nine-year absence from the top flight.
Pau coach Simon Mannix, the former All Black and Munster backs coach, said: “Euan knows the highest level of the game and will be a bonus for our pack.”
Murray is currently the most capped prop for his country, surpassing Allan Jacobsen’s tally of 65 when he took to the field against Ireland at BT Murrayfield in March for his 66th appearance in a Scotland jersey.
He would have had even more caps but, in 2009, the devout Christian confirmed that he would not play on Sundays.
Following this year’s Six Nations he announced his retirement from the international scene last month and said then: “My wife Sarah is due to have our third child in August and I have to be with my family as much as possible before and after the birth. Clearly, with the World Cup looming, the national squad will be training and playing throughout that period and I have too much respect for the national jersey to put myself forward in those circumstances.”
One of Scotland’s pool matches in the Rugby World Cup is on a Sunday – the clash with United States in Leeds, while the quarter-final for the team that finishes second in Pool B is also on a Sunday.
Murray made his Scotland debut against Romania in Bucharest in 2005 and four years later he was one of just two Scots alongside Nathan Hines, named in the original Lions squad for South Africa, though he didn’t feature in the Test series.
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend, who enjoyed spells in France with Brive, Castres and Montpellier during his own playing career, hailed the prop’s contribution to the Warriors’ success and wished him well.
The former Scotland and Lions stand-off said: “Euan has made a big impact at the club over his two spells here, and his vast experience has been a great addition to the squad this season.
“He has always played with commitment and continues to be one of the best props in the game in the contact area.
“As a Glasgow man he always pulls on the jersey with pride and that passion really shines through when he is representing the city and the fans.
“We wish him and his family all the best in France.”