GREGORY Sebastien has thanked Plymouth Albion supporters for helping him enjoy one of the best years of his life.
The 23-year-old Frenchman has confirmed he has left Brickfields after just one season.
Sebastien, who made 19 appearances last term – 15 as a replacement, is currently considering his options. He is training with Albion’s National One rivals Moseley but also has an offer from back home in France.
The flanker admits he is sad to leave Plymouth, but insists he will never forget a special eight months in Devon.
“It was an amazing season for me – one of my best,” said Gregory, who joined Albion in mid-September.
“Plymouth was my first year in the UK and it was more than just a rugby experience.
“The rugby and outside the rugby was just amazing.
“For me the season was a big success as we got good results on the pitch with the lads. The rugby was brilliant but so to was everything else.
“I got the chance to go to schools and talk to young boys and girls about rugby and do coaching.
“I also got to meet lots of brilliant people and brilliant staff. Simon Hicklin, Tristan Lark, Simon Lane and Graham Dawe are really true people who were really focused on the rugby and were really nice. They helped me a lot and I also learned a lot.
“I would like to say a really massive thank you to all the lads. It was really good to play alongside them.
“A big thanks also to my sponsor, Sandon Court. Anne-Marie and Graham Witts-Davies really helped me a lot, not just with my rugby but also settling into Plymouth.
“But I also must say a big thank you to the supporters. They are amazing. I have never seen support like that before.
“They followed us home and away, even on the very, very long trips. They were always there, making those journeys for us. It was just amazing. I have no words to describe them. They are brilliant people.”
He added: “I learned a lot about England and the culture as well as rugby and it was also nice that I could share my French culture with them.
“I would have liked to have stayed and I’m really, really sad to leave Plymouth. My first wish would have been to stay in Plymouth for one more year or more because I had fallen in the love with the city and the rugby was brilliant.
“But the reason why I have left Plymouth is because of what is going on at the club. New owners took over the club and I had to make a choice about my life.
“Everything has to be right to play rugby.
“The contract for the rugby was not really good. It was pay-as-you-play and I can’t live with just this type of contract as I have to pay for accommodation, food and training.”
Sebastien would have been happy to work alongside playing but only with the right job.
“I had kept doing my studies during my stay in Plymouth,” he said. “I was doing a masters’ degree via e-learning. I would have worked besides the rugby but there was not really any good jobs in my skills field.
“I’m really sad to leave but I’m a really positive person and I wish everyone I played with last season and the club all the best for the future.
“I know the future will be bright for most of the players.”
Meanwhile, Albion are offering a £200 reward for information that will lead to the return of a gold championship medal that was presented to former Plymouth player Jimmy Peters.
Peters was the first black player to play for England when he was selected to face Scotland in 1906.
Two years late Peters was presented with a medal by Plymouth RFC, which was stole from his granddaughter’s home in Plymstock sometime between May 21 and June 3.
Anyone with information are asked to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 55511 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the crime number CR/039209/16.