Leinster have confirmed the news that Stuart Lancaster will depart the club at the end of the season, to take up a coaching role with Top 14 side Racing 92.
The news does not come as a shock, as rumours began to brew months ago about the move, and began to take on an air inevitability with reports over the last week.
Stuart Lancaster has been with Leinster since 2016, and his influence on the squad has been widely regarded as one of the main factors in Leinster's success since his arrival.
At Racing, he will take over from current head coach Laurent Travers, who is expected to move to a position higher up within the club.
“Stuart has been a brilliant asset to Leinster Rugby since he joined us in 2016," said Leinster head coach Leo Cullen following the news. "He has helped us to grow at all levels, both through his work with the senior team and his willingness to get involved with underage teams as well as clubs around the province, where he is always so generous with his time.
"I think there has always been a realisation that Stuart would move on to a new challenge at some stage. For that reason, we feel fortunate to have had him here for as long as we have, and we wish him, his wife Nina and kids Sophie and Dan the very best in their next adventure with Racing 92 in France.
“We have had some great days together and, on a personal level, Stu has been an incredible support. We will all miss him but I am very excited and enthused to go on and try to achieve further success this season as a group.”
Stuart Lancaster Says Goodbye
🏉 | Leinster Rugby can confirm that senior coach, Stuart Lancaster, will leave the club at the end of the season.
Read the full story: https://t.co/VG2Cl4hyCV#FromTheGroundUp pic.twitter.com/QuqtPq3OSr
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) September 26, 2022
Stuart Lancaster has also released on his departure next year.
“I will be eternally grateful to Leo, Mick and Guy and the whole Leinster organisation for the opportunity they gave me and my family back in 2016.
“Initially it was for just one season and here I am entering my seventh and that is a reflection on all the players past and present I have worked with and the people of Leinster and Ireland who have made me and my family feel so welcome.
“I have always wanted to challenge myself as a coach in different ways and the opportunity to coach in France at a club like Racing 92 is an exciting one and I will look forward to that challenge when it comes.
“In the meantime, I really want to give everything to the whole of Leinster Rugby and the supporters in the next eight months as I feel we have more to come as we drive towards the exciting challenge ahead both in the URC and in Europe.”