The 33-year-old tighthead has battled it out with Jake Cooper-Woolley for the starting shirt this season. Due to the emergence of Cooper-Woolley as a front row force and the arrival of Marty Moore from Leinster, in addition to talented tight-head Phil Swainston, Wasps have agreed to release Cittadini a year early from his contract to enable him to join Bayonne, where he hopes to enjoy more game-time.
Cittadini arrived at Wasps from Benetton Treviso in the summer of 2014, on the back of an impressive RBS 6 Nations campaign, joining Andrea Masi and Carlo Festuccia in a highly influential Italian trio at the club.
In his debut season, he was an ever-present for Wasps making 28 appearances, while continuing to represent his country. This season, Cittadini was limited to twelve starts over the course of the campaign due to the impressive form of Cooper-Woolley, which saw him selected to represent England Saxons on their tour to South Africa.
Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “Citta has been outstanding for Wasps during his two seasons with us. He’s a fantastic character to have around the training base and we have loved having him here. Because he’s such a good guy and been so good for Wasps, we didn’t want to stand in his way when he had the opportunity to secure a longer-term deal elsewhere, where he is likely to get more game time. We appreciate it is a better option for him and his family and we wish him the very best for the future.”
Lorenzo Cittadini admitted it would be hard to leave the club which has become like a second home to him, saying: “I would like to thank Derek [Richardson], Dai [Young] and all the coaching staff for the opportunity they gave me to improve as a player and challenge at the highest level in England and Europe as well.
“I really enjoy these two years at Wasps. Everybody make me feel like at home. I want also to thank all the players, because it was really easy to settle in the team when I arrived.
“Thank you also to all the medical staff and back office staff. I really think we are a big family at Wasps and I am sure the club have a fantastic future in front of them and will achieve some silverware soon.
“It was a very difficult decision to take. I feel very sad about leaving the club, but I want to look at this move as a very good opportunity in the last few years of my career. It is an exciting step and challenge in my rugby career and it is also a good opportunity for me and my wife as a family.
“I wish all the best to everybody at Wasps and to all our Wasps fans who I will miss!!”