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."
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).