CONFIRMED! Robbie Henshaw to join Leinster on a three-year deal
ROBBIE HENSHAW has agreed a three-year national contract with the IRFU and will move to Leinster from Connacht at the end of this season.
The move to the eastern province had been widely mooted for some time, but it is understood the decision was not taken lightly by the highly rated 22-year-old and his advisors as he weighed up his options.
The contract will last from July up until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Ultimately, the prospect of playing week in, week out with Johnny Sexton and availing of the state of the art facilities on offer at Leinster’s UCD base swayed him in favour of a move that will bring his life-long association with Connacht to an end.
Henshaw joined the Connacht Academy in 2012, and made his senior Connacht debut against Cardiff Blues in his first year.
His first senior cap came during the summer tour of 2013 and he has been a regular in Joe Schmidt's squad winning 17 caps to date.
IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora said: "I am disappointed for Connacht that Robbie has decided to leave but pleased for Irish rugby that he has committed to a further three years. I know that the decision Robbie has taken to move from Connacht is not one he has taken lightly."
Robbie Henshaw said: "I would like to thank Connacht Rugby, the IRFU and Leinster for allowing me time to consider my future.
"This has been a long and difficult process and while I am sorry to be leaving Connacht I look forward to the next chapter of my rugby career at Leinster.
"The support I have enjoyed from the fans in the Sportsground and throughout the province is something that I really value and I want to thank them for four great years."
Leinster Head Coach Leo Cullen commented: "We are delighted to have secured Robbie's signature for the next three seasons. Robbie is a huge talent and we have all seen that over the last few weeks and months with Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations and during the World Cup.
"We look forward to welcoming him into Leinster when this season is over and I am sure that our supporters would echo that view."
Leinster also confirmed the signing today of former Munster lock Ian Nagle.
Nagle is a student in the illustrious MBA business course at Cambridge and took a break from rugby 18 months ago.
Leo Cullen said:"It is well documented at this stage that Ian took a sabbatical from rugby at the end of the 2013/14 season to pursue educational opportunities most recently at Cambridge University. He has however made a return to rugby with London Irish and was involved last weekend in their win against Worcester.
"He is also relatively young at 27 and I think he will add even more experience and competition to an already competitive second row roster.”
Cullen also spoke about the recruitment process to date and the players confirmed for next season.
"By and large we are very happy with where we are at. It is fantastic to see so many talented players commit their futures to Leinster Rugby and I think the supporters will be hugely excited as we continue to build our squad for the 2016/17 season and beyond.”
Josh van der Flier