This week it was confirmed that Irish prop Conan O’Donnell has secured a deal to join Japanese side the Sunwolves for the second half of the Super Rugby season.
He will leave his native province Connacht to link up with former All Black Tony Brown after finding few first-team opportunities out west. After two successful years playing with the Ireland U20s, injuries curtailed his development and he is set to go in search of a new challenge.
It's a development that has become more popular in recent years, as the Irish system continues to improve but only so many spots are available.
O'Donnell's move is far from an isolated incident. Speaking to Balls.ie's rugby podcast, World in Union, former Connacht prospect Tadhg Leader explained how he ended up playing in America and representing the USA at senior level. Leader has been involved in the game as a player, coach and agent.
Thus, he is keenly aware of rugby's new age and the opportunity that is there for Irish players.
As far as the Galway man is concerned, this is only the beginning.
100% it will increase. The Irish system only has four teams so a bottle-kneck is going to happen. There are so many quality players. Over the last month actually, we'd the four Irish A teams come out and play us. Even seeing that, these guys were quality footballers but there is only a limited amount of spots.
Now with the New England Free Jacks, Leader has rediscovered his love the game and feels a path has now been forged.
I think it is a path that has become more popular which will make it easier for guys. Five, six years ago it was not common. Maybe England or France, now it is easier. Guys can reach out and give me a shout, ask for my opinion and perspective. Hopefully, it can guide them a little bit, which has been the case over the last month. Guys have been reaching out and enquiring about the states.
With the game burgeoning in places like America and Japan, the amount Irish abroad looks set to only grow from here.
To listen to the full podcast, which includes an interview with Tadhg Leader, analysis and criticism Munster, Johnny Sexton on facing Owen Farrell and a Champions Cup final preview, search 'Balls.ie' on any podcast platform.