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."
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.