Ulster Rugby have pledged to bring in a big name star to replace number eight Nick Williams.
It has always been expected the Polynesian powerhouse would be moving on at the end of the current season and on Wednesday morning Cardiff Blues confirmed they had signed for the former Junior All Black.
Williams (32) had a successful career in New Zealand with the Auckland Blues, before spells with Munster and Aironi in Europe.
He joined Ulster in 2012 and was named as the PRO12 Player of the Season at the end of his debut season.
He has gone on to make 67 appearances for the Province, scoring 13 tries, during a four-year spell.
Williams has also become a massive hit with the fans and is a popular member of the squad.
There had been speculation that Ulster had targeted New Zealand World Cup star Victor Vito as a potential signing, but he has since joined French club La Rochelle.
On Wednesday, Ulster’s operations director, Bryn Cunningham, said the club were confident on bringing in a big name to replace Williams.
He said: “Over the next period we will be able to announce Nick’s replacement, which will be a top class addition to the squad moving into next season.”
Williams said “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belfast.
“The Ulster people are special and the supporters have always been so good to me.
“My daughter was born in Ireland so it will always be a special place for our family.
“Rest assured, I’ll be giving everything for the team until the end of this season.
“We have set our targets over the next five months and I want to play my part in us achieving them.”
Cunningham paid tribute to Wiliams’ contribution adding: “Nick is a true gentleman and a real fans’ favourite.
“He is currently producing some excellent rugby for Ulster and I know that he will continue in the same vain for the rest of the season, with so much still to play for.
“While we are unable to see Nick in the white of Ulster after his current contract, I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all his efforts over the past four years. His physicality, barnstorming runs and off-loading abilities are always exciting to watch and we’ve told him not to do quite as much next season when playing against us!”
Williams is expected to start against Connacht on Saturday.