Leinster have confirmed that Irish international second-row Mike McCarthy will join RC Narbonne in the French Pro D2 at the end of 2016/17.
The 35-year-old has won 75 caps for Leinster since joining in 2013 from Connacht and won a PRO12 title in his first campaign lining out in the number five jersey in a 34-12 win against Glasgow at the RDS.
McCarthy has also won 19 Ireland caps since his debut in August 2011 against Scotland in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game and was a late call-up to the Ireland squad in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“I have loved my time in Leinster Rugby and am very grateful for my time here,” said lock McCarthy when speaking about his decision.
“But this is an excellent opportunity for me and for my young family and I am really excited for the challenge with Narbonne. There is a lot of ambition amongst the President and coaching team to rebuild this historic club and I’m really looking forward to playing a part in achieving this.
“However, firstly I’m focused on a big end of season with Leinster and hopefully repaying the Club and the supporters with some silverware. We are in a really good place on two fronts and I look forward to contributing over the next few months and finishing out as strongly as possible.”
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen, who played with McCarthy in his last season as a professional at Leinster, paid tribute to the London born lock.
“Since Mike joined Leinster from Connacht in 2013 he has been a key figure in the dressing room. He has made a huge impact during his four seasons at Leinster and has always been fully committed when he pulled on a Leinster jersey,” he said.
“I was fortunate enough to play with Mike and he was always a fierce competitor. It was always nicer playing with him than against him!
“We would like to wish Mike and his family the very best of luck with their move to France as they depart on this exciting new adventure.”