It has emerged on Monday afternoon that Munster and Ireland winger Simon Zebo will be leaving the province at the end of the season.
Worries over Zebo's contract had been building for some time, and having made no secret of his desire to play abroad at some stage of his career it looked there were concerns that the club would not be able to hold onto him.
This has been confirmed by MunsterRugby.ie as they revealed their disappointment in having been unable to match the offers from abroad:
The 27-year-old winger and fullback has attracted the interest of several European clubs who have offered terms that Munster and the IRFU are unable to match despite both the province and the Union making every effort to retain the player with substantial improvements made to his existing deal.
This is a big blow for Munster, and CEO Garrett Fitzgerald has revealed his 'huge disappointment' at the outcome of the contract negotiations:
Working closely with the IRFU we put ourselves in the best position possible with an excellent offer, and while we are largely successful in retaining our best players within the Irish system we know it is out of our hands on this occasion.
We are hugely disappointed to see Simon leave but we wish to thank him for his immense contribution to the province and wish him and his family all the best for the future.
Zebo's destination has not yet been confirmed, but the man himself did give comment to Munster's official site where he expressed his gratitude for all his home club.
This club has moulded me into the player and person I am today and I will forever be grateful for that. It has always been my dream to play for my home club, wearing the red jersey while representing my family, friends and local community.
However, I have always noted the draw to play abroad one day, and in not taking this decision lightly I have decided on what’s best for my family. With my partner Elvira and two young children, Jacob and Sofia, we are planning for our future and this is the right time for us to make the move.
As much as I will miss everything about this place – the players, staff, supporters and friends for life – I know there are many more special nights in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park to be had. I will continue to enjoy wearing my jersey with pride and will give my all in making sure Munster are successful this season.
We will bring you news of Zebo's new club when it is confirmed.