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."
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).