Leinster Rugby can confirm that outhalf Jimmy Gopperth will leave the province at the end of the current season to join Aviva Premiership team, Wasps.
New Zealand born Gopperth, joined Leinster at the start of last year from the Newcastle Falcons and has to date made 45 appearances (31 starts) and has scored 280 points, including three tries.
In his first year at Leinster, he played 29 times and was instrumental as Matt O'Connor's men reached the Quarter-Final of the Heineken Cup and won the PRO12 title by finishing top of the table at the end of the regular season and then accounting for Ulster in the Play-Off and finally Glasgow in the Final. In a 34-12 win in glorious sunshine in the RDS, Gopperth kicked 14 points in a four try win over the Glaswegians.
To date this year he has played 16 games, with 13 starts, as Leinster sit in the top four of the Guinness PRO12 and are joint top in Pool Two in the Champions Cup.
Leinster Rugby Head Coach Matt O'Connor commented, "Jimmy has been an integral part of this environment for the last 18 months or so and will be missed. The experience he brought to the set-up from years playing with the Hurricanes and Blues in Super Rugby and then with the Falcons, can not be underestimated and the younger players like Ian and to a greater extent Cathal, Steve and Ross learned a great deal from him.
"We are disappointed to lose a player of his calibre and experience but we understand his reasoning. At this stage in his career, he wants to be playing consistently and regularly and the opportunity to go to a club like Wasps was too good an opportunity for him to turn down. We wish him and [Sarah] and the kids the very best of luck with the move but would re-iterate that there is still plenty of rugby to play between now and then.
"Jimmy and I have spoken and true to his nature and his professionalism you can be sure that we will get the same level of commitment and application that we have always received from Jimmy. He still has a huge role to play for Leinster Rugby this season.”
Speaking about his decision, Jimmy said, " I have had a great time at Leinster Rugby and it has been a brilliant experience and I haven't taken the decision lightly. This season is very much still on the line and we are in contention for two trophies and I am looking forward to fighting on both fronts over the coming months.
"I'd like to thank Matt, Marco, Leo, Richie and all of the coaches during my time at Leinster for the opportunity to play in this environment and for this club with such a tradition and history. I've always been very proud to pull on that jersey and to represent the supporters and no day was I more proud than last May in the RDS in the PRO12 Final against Glasgow. A full RDS is hard to beat and it is a day and an atmosphere that I will never forget.
"This was a very tough decision but at this stage in my career I think it is the right decision and the opportunity to play for a club like Wasps was the right one to take. They have a good coach in Dai Young, great structures, a new stadium and play a similar brand of rugby to Leinster.
"But that is for then. Right now I am happy to have clarity around my situation going forward but it is now about Cardiff on Saturday and a huge few weeks for Leinster Rugby both domestically and in Europe. All of my and of our focus is doing as well as we possibly can in the coming months.”