Leinster Rugby have confirmed the news that Isa Nacewa will be leaving the province at the end of the season.
The 30-year-old is also set to retire from professional rugby, due to family reasons.
Nacewa joined Leinster back in 2008, and has played a vital role in the province claiming three Heineken Cup titles in his time. He has been capped an astonishing 116 times and has scored an impressive 375 points in all competitions in his five years with the side.
His decision to retire will come as a bitter disappointment for Leinster fans, as Nacewa is one of the most popular players in the team. On the back of losing Jonny Sexton to Racing Metro next season, Leinster had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Nacewa to reverse his decision and remain with them for another year. He is added to the loss of wingers Andrew Conway to Munster and Fionn Carr to Connacht.
It is not all doom and gloom for Leinster fans however, as the club have known of Nacewa’s plans for some time now and have sounded out Wallabies utility back, Drew Mitchell as a potential replacement.
Commenting on the news, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said: “I’ve known Isa for a number of years. He’s universally respected due to the quality of his character, his athleticism, skill and commitment.
“He has been great value for us, not just on the field where he has provided a string of highlights but off the field also, where he has contributed enormously to the development of the players around him.”
“He’s hugely popular amongst supporters and hopefully they will enjoy a few more outstanding performances from Isa in the coming weeks.”
Last season the Aucklander claimed his third Heineken Cup winner’s medal. Despite a couple of injuries this season, Nacewa has played 116 games to date in his five seasons with Leinster, all but six of them in the starting line-up. His departure will be a big loss for Leinster.