Paia'aua pinched by Toulon for 2019-20 and beyond

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Rising Reds playmaker Duncan Paia'aua is bound for Toulon at the end of 2019.

Larger-than-life Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal named Paia'aua as the club's latest recruit in French media reports overnight and sources at the QRU have since confirmed the 23-year-old is set to depart the Reds at the end of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

Paia'aua is contracted to the club for next year and it's understood he will play the entirety of the 2019 season before heading for the south of France.

Money is understood to be a motivating factor in Paia'aua's decision.

The QRU were simply unable to match the cash thrown at the centre by Toulon.

Boudjellal described Paia'aua as having a "Matt Giteau" profile about him and while that may seem a touch far-fetched there is no doubt Paia'aua's loss will hurt the Reds and, by extension, the depth of the Wallabies.

He is highly rated at the Reds and captained Queensland Country to a title before taking the reins once more this season.

While he did not make his Test debut the Rockhampton product was clearly on coach Michael Cheika's radar when he started at flyhalf in Australia's clash with the Barbarians last year.

He has seemingly fallen out of favour since, though, with Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Matt Toomua and Reece Hodge preferred in the 10 and 12 slots.