FLYING Fijians captain Akapusi Qera officially became a Toulouse player as of yesterday after Gloucester confirmed his immediate departure.
The move was imminent but instead of waiting for the current season to end, the robust flanker was released early in return for a transfer fee from the French club.
The 29-year-old was a regular on the Gloucester starting line-up after the 2007 Rugby World Cup where he helped Fiji to the quarter-finals.
However, since the arrival of England openside Matt Kvesic at the club, Qera was restricted to either making brief appearances off the bench or not even making the match squad.
Toulouse needed a suitable replacement for their injured flanker Gregory Lamboley and Qera was ready to make the move.
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davis said in a statement they were going to miss Qera's services.
"We are naturally disappointed to lose Q (Qera) at this time," he said. "However, on his return from the Autumn internationals, he requested for his own reasons to be released from his contract early.
"On a personal level, it has been a pleasure working with Akapusi and I wish him well in his new career at Toulouse."
Qera said the time was right for the move but he would always cherish his stint at Gloucester.
"For personal reasons, I feel the time is right for me to move on from Gloucester Rugby now after the last seven seasons at Kingsholm," he said.
"I would like to thank the Club and its supporters for the backing they have given me over the years, and my time at Gloucester will always be close to my heart."