Newcastle Falcons fly-half Jimmy Gopperth has signed for Heineken Cup champions Leinster on a two-year deal.
The 29-year-old, who has picked up backed-to-back Aviva Premiership Golden Boot awards during his four year stint on Tyneside, will move to the RaboDirect Pro 12 outfit at the end of the current season.
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Jimmy has been a fantastic servant for the club, and I would like to wish him all the very best for the future.
“In the meantime Jimmy is fully focussed on helping Newcastle achieve its goal of gaining promotion back to the Premiership.
“By moving to Leinster Jimmy will get the opportunity to play Heineken Cup rugby next season. Leinster is a club with rich history and tradition, and I am pleased for Jimmy that he will get the chance to test himself at the very highest level.”
Gopperth said: “Last year I could have left the Falcons after relegation, but in my heart I felt that I had to stay and help the club immediately return back to the Premiership.
“When the opportunity arose to move to the Heineken Cup champions, I felt it was the right time in my career to embark on a new challenge.”
The Kiwi No.10 made his one hundredth appearance for the Falcons in the British and Irish Cup last month.
“I have loved every moment of my time in the North East, and the fans have been amazing,” said Gopperth.
He added: “Newcastle Falcons has huge potential under ambitious owner Semore Kurdi and director of rugby Dean Richards, and I would love to see the club realise its goal of playing Heineken Cup rugby.
“It has been an exciting season under Dean so far, and there is still a job to be done as we aim to bounce back to the Premiership.
“That is my focus at the moment, and all my energy is going into helping the Falcons achieve this goal.”