Irish international centre Robbie Henshaw’s switch from Connacht to Leinster for next season looked a done deal last night when the Western Province confirmed he would leave when his current contract expiries in June.
The Ireland centre has informed his home province of his intentions and they released a statement confirming his departure.
It is understood that the 22-year-old is close to agreeing a central contract with the IRFU and his move to Leinster will then be confirmed.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the ultimate outcome of our negotiations with Robbie, however, we respect the decision he has made and wish him all the best with the Irish team into the future.”
Henshaw, who started for Ireland against France in Paris on Saturday, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in Connacht Rugby who has played a part in getting me to where I am today, from my club, Buccaneers, to my school, Marist College and all of the coaching staff in Connacht Rugby itself.
“I was fortunate to be given my chance to play pro rugby at just 19 years of age and it’s been an incredible journey over the past four seasons, culminating in my breakthrough onto the national team.
“I also want to thank the Connacht fans who have always been so supportive of not just me but the team as a whole.
“Connacht Rugby are sitting in a strong position both in the PRO12 and Challenge Cup and I am determined to play my part to ensure we finish the season out on a high.”
Munster are also believed to have tabled an offer for Henshaw.