King confirms Clermont Auvernge switch
July 2, 2007
Fly-half Alex King has has ended an 11-year association with Wasps after signing for French club Clermont Auvergne.
King, 32, was out of contract and has agreed a one-year deal with last season's French championship runners-up.
His last action in a Wasps jersey was to help the club to victory over Leicester in the Heineken Cup final in May.
But King will not be away from Adams Park for long - Wasps are due to play Clermont Auvergne in pool stages of the competition next season.
And Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan plans to develop a coaching role for King at the club when his playing days are numbered.
King said: ``The end of last season wasn't quite the right time to decide what I was going to do. I wanted to be able to focus purely on preparing for the Heineken Cup final and, after that was over, obviously things were then very emotional.
``The victory at Twickenham was a great day in the history of the club, and one that is very special to me, one that I am proud to have been a part of. Since then, I have taken some time off and reflected a bit on what I should do in the coming season.
``When the offer came in from France, I could see that it would be a fantastic opportunity to gain some new experiences and hopefully see things from different perspectives, things which will be especially important to me as I do plan to pursue a career in coaching once I've retired.
``So I'm hoping this will be an experience that will stand me in good stead, and allow me to see new things and learn new things - things that can be beneficial to both parties if I ever do want to come back to Wasps and do some coaching.
``The club has been a huge part of my life for the past 11 years, and I didn't realise how difficult it would be to leave.
``The added bonus is that I was able to go out on such a high, winning the Heineken Cup at Twickenham.
Injuries at key times limited King's England career to just five caps, but he leaves Wasps having won everything the club game has to offer.
During King's time there, Wasps won four league titles, two Heineken Cups, the European Challenge Cup, two Tetley Bitter Cups and the EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup.
King made 269 appearances, a tally bettered only in the club's history by captain Lawrence Dallaglio.
Wasps is a club built on tradition - it prides itself on the motto ``once a Wasp, always a Wasp'' - and McGeechan wants to tap into King's experience.
He said: ``This is a great opportunity for Alex to do something different, and he goes with our blessing.
``Alex has been core to everything Wasps has been about in recent years and I hope he will continue to be so in the future, as we have spent some time discussing his options once he has retired from playing.
``I believe he will continue to be a very important part of the club in the future, and to that end we have plans to develop a coaching position for him at Wasps when he reaches the end of his playing days.
``Therefore, it is important that he takes the opportunities offered to him in France to gather some different rugby experiences in his last years of playing, experience that hopefully he can use with Wasps at a later date.
``Alex has been instrumental to Wasps' success over the past decade, and he has come to personify the ethos of the club.
``There is surely no better way to finish your time with a club than to kick the winning points and collect a second Heineken Cup-winner's medal in front of a record breaking 80,000 people.''