Nick Williams will depart for Cardiff Blues over the summer without getting to make a final bow for Ulster as the Guinness PRO12 season draws to a climax.
The Polynesian powerhouse has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, requiring surgery on a shoulder injury.
The 32-year-old is a massive hit with the Ulster fans and many will be disappointed they will not get to see him play one more time before the end of the season.
The number eight sustained the injury when playing in the Guinness PRO12 against Glasgow on March 25 and Ulster Rugby said on Tuesday Williams would undergo surgery this week to repair a lateral tear - ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Former Auckland Blues star Williams joined Ulster from former Italian franchise Arioni in June 2012 having been at Munster for a spell previously.
Ulster director of rugby, Les Kiss admitted it was a massive disappointment for everyone involved that Williams’ time with the club was to end in the manner it did.
“I take my hat off to Nick. He had a shoulder issue and he played through a couple and he said he would give it a chance to see how it went to the Zebre game and then we would make a decision after that,” said Kiss.
“It is probably at a point that we need to do something else with it, so it is important for him that he gets it right too.
“It is about people at the end of the day, it is not just about trying to bash people around and squeeze every little bit out of them.
“He has been a great servant and I loved coaching Nick. He is one of those infectious type of players that training with him, working with him, doing one on one with him, you only come out with a smile on the back end of it.
“He is a quality person and yeah sure we will miss what he can bring to the game, but it is not to be and he will be around for a number of weeks, he will be at our dinner at the end of the year and we wish him well going forward.”