BATH full-back Nick Abendanon will leave the club at the end of the season and take up a contract at French side Clermont Auvergne.

Originally contracted to Bath until June 2015, Bath agreed to release Abendanon, 27, a year early after he requested the move and Clermont agreed to pay a transfer fee.

With 193 first team appearances to his name, Abendanon has been a central player for Bath since his debut in 2005.

Bath head coach Mike Ford said: “Nick has been a great player for Bath and we thank him for all he’s done over the years.

"He felt it was time to go and that Clermont represented an opportunity he couldn’t turn down. I know Nick will remain totally committed to our cause this season.”

Abendanon, capped twice by England in 2007, added: “I have loved every minute I have played for Bath and want to thank the club for giving me the opportunities they have.

"This has been an extremely hard decision for me, but I feel this is the right time to challenge myself in a new environment.

"I leave behind a set of fantastic fans and a club that I know will be competing for silverware in the coming seasons. I wish everyone at Bath the very best of luck.”