GLOUCESTER have signed Cardiff Blues' outstanding stand-off Nicky Robinson on a three-year contract.
The 27-year-old, instrumental in Cardiff's charge to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, will begin his new career with Gloucester in summer.
With 12 Welsh caps already to his name, Robinson will be an excellent addition to Gloucester's squad and head coach Dean Ryan said: "To be in the market to sign a player of Nicky's quality is a really significant addition to our squad.
"We know from first-hand experience just what an exciting talent he is. He has a proven quality at operating at the highest level in Europe and internationally with Wales and his expertise is something we are delighted to be working with."
Robinson made his senior Cardiff debut at the end of the 2000-1 season and in the following campaign landed 184 points in 24 games. In his first full season, he won a call up to sit on the bench for Wales at Twickenham and in 2003 was the key figure in Wales' under-21 side that won the Six Nations Grand Slam and beat New Zealand.
This season, he has made 17 appearances for the Blues and has scored two tries - one of which came against Gloucester at the Millennium Stadium.
Of his move to Gloucester, Robinson said: "It's obviously been one of the hardest decisions I'll ever have to make in my rugby career. To decide to leave my hometown club; somewhere where I dreamt of playing, and spent a large part of my career was always going to be hard.
"But I wanted to experience playing in a different environment and a different league. I also wanted to test myself and try to improve as a rugby player and as a person, and Gloucester will give me that opportunity.
"I wanted to find out for myself what it is like to play in a different league and train with different players and coaches and change the routine that I have been doing for a number of years now.
"Gloucester have an outstanding squad and when I spoke to head coach Dean Ryan about his plans for the future, his desire and determination to make the club one of the biggest in Europe was exactly what I wanted to hear.
"It's a great opportunity to test myself in a new environment at a club that has consistently challenged at the top of the Guinness Premiership in recent years.
"I'd like to thank the Blues for being very loyal to me throughout my time here; they've really stuck by me when I've had injuries and illnesses."
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.