Exiled Queensland Reds halfback Nick Frisby has signed with French Top 14 club Bordeaux for the remainder of the European season.
Frisby is contracted to the Super Rugby franchise until the end of 2019, but he was told by Queensland coach Brad Thorn late last year, along with Quade Cooper, that he was not in the Reds’ plans.
The Reds confirmed on Tuesday that Frisby, 25, has been released on a short-term contract, and that he was due back in Queensland when the French season concludes in June.
At that point, Frisby is expected to return to Brisbane Premier Rugby club GPS, who first revealed the details of his move via Instagram.
Frisby hence won’t be counted against Queensland’s salary cap for almost the entire 2018 season and potentially longer, if a permanent switch can be worked out.
The Reds have three halfbacks — James Tuttle, Moses Sorovi and Tate McDermott — on their books.
Tuttle and Sorovi both jumped ahead in the team’s pecking order last year, which marked a significant fall from grace for Frisby given that he had been on Australia’s end-of-season tour of Europe in 2016 and for a fleeting moment looked like the country’s second-best choice in the No. 9 jersey.
Frisby and hooker Andrew Ready were dropped to club rugby last year by then-Reds coach Nick Stiles for falling short of team standards, having chosen to go out drinking after a defeat to the Hurricanes and then failing to show at an optional recovery session the next morning.
Cooper, meanwhile, is yet to indicate whether he will seek a move or simply play out the year in club rugby and collect his reported $Aus660,000 salary.
Thorn has further backline headaches with Karmichael Hunt to be sacked if he is found guilty of two charges of drug possession when he fronts court on January 29.