Ben Barba To Play French Rugby During NRL Drug Ban
French rugby giants Toulon have announced that banned NRL premiership-winning fullback Ben Barba will switch codes and play for them for the rest of the Top 14 season.
"Ben Barba will arrive in Toulon next week," read a statement on Toulon's website.
Two weeks ago, Cronulla re-signed Barba only two months after his contract was terminated by the Sharks following a positive test to cocaine.
The 27-year-old was hit with a 12-match ban in November as a result of the second positive sample he returned under the NRL's illicit drug policy.
Barba signed a one-year contract for the 2017 season but the deal is yet to be ratified by the NRL.
If he's cleared to return, Barba would be available for the Sharks in mid-May.
Toulon's last regular-season match is against Pau on May 6, but they'll be well backed to make a run deep into the finals which culminate with the Top 14 decider on June 4.
Barba will join fellow Australians Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, James O'Connor and Liam Gill at Toulon.
Three-time European Cup champions Toulon sit fifth on the Top 14 table and last weekend's 23-20 home defeat to La Rochelle reportedly left club president Mourad Boudjellal fuming.
They have nine regular-season matches remaining as well as having already qualified for the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup.
Toulon expect Barba to vie for the fullback jersey but added that he can cover across nearly every other backline position.
Barba helped Cronulla win their first NRL title last year before being suspended after testing positive for cocaine.
He spent time at a rehabilitation clinic in Thailand.