Munster fly-half JJ Hanrahan will join Northampton Saints at the end of the season after agreeing a deal with the Premiership side.
The highly-rated youngster had been rumoured to be heading to Franklin’s Gardens at the end of last year, and Munster today confirmed the news.
Hanrahan explained that it had been a difficult decision, but felt it was the right one in order to progress.
The 22-year-old has been in and out of the side this season but Ian Keatley is established as first choice at fly-half and has just signed a new contract.
“I have thought long and hard about this decision, and as difficult as it is to leave I believe it is the right step to take for my future progression,” said Hanrahan.
“Growing up, Munster was all I knew and I will certainly miss it. I am very fortunate to have represented this club and team but I need to do what is best for me and avail of the next opportunity.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and want to thank everyone for their support and best wishes all along. I will continue to represent the jersey to the best of my ability for the remainder of the season.”
Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald confirmed the news, admitting the loss of Hanrahan was a major disappointment.
“In confirming the positive news about player contracts earlier today we are extremely disappointed to announce that we will lose the services of a home-grown talent such as JJ,” he said.
“We understand his reasons for leaving at the end of the season and appreciate the opportunity available to him.
“We have done everything possible in looking to retain such a skilful player and offered a highly competitive package in the process but unfortunately the decision is out of our hands.
“We would like to wish JJ all the best, he is a talented player with a very bright future ahead of him.”