Athlone’s Robbie Henshaw has announced he will not be signing a new contract with Connacht Rugby and will depart at the end of the current season.
Connacht coach Pat Lam admitted it was a ‘disappointment’ that Henshaw will not be remaining at the Sportsground. “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,” Lam commented.
On announcing his impending departure, Henshaw acknowledged the role played by Buccaneers, Marist College, and Connacht in his development. “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,” Henshaw said.
“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.”
The IRFU announced on Tuesday afternoon that Henshaw will join Leinster on a three-year deal which will run from July 2016 until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. RFU 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.”