Northampton Saints have this lunchtime confirmed that Dan Biggar has signed a contract to join the East Midlands club in the summer of 2018.
In a joint statement the WRU and the Ospreys revealed he had been offered a significantly better deal then they could afford.
“Biggar is under National Dual Contract with the Ospreys and Welsh Rugby Union for the remainder of the current season, but has declined to take up the option to extend this deal under significantly improved terms.
“Whilst this is disappointing, as the intention is to keep our best players in Wales, there is an appreciation that on occasions market forces will make this impractical.
“The high level of Biggar’s contribution to Wales and the Ospreys during his career to date, and his continued professionalism in this regard, is unquestioned and all parties continue to wish him well for the future.”
The fly half has been one of the northern hemisphere’s stand-out performers in recent years, having made 56 appearances for Wales, 203 for the Ospreys and toured with the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand earlier this summer, during which he played in five of the 10 matches.
The 27-year-old has been Wales’s starting fly half for the majority of the past four years, winning the 2013 Six Nations title and being the man of the match in Wales’s memorable Rugby World Cup win over England in 2015, a game in which he kicked 23 points.
At club level Biggar was the youngest player to pass the 200-appearance mark for the Ospreys, a feat he achieved last season. To date he has scored over 2,000 points for the region, earning a reputation as one of the league’s most accurate marksmen in the process.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Biggar’s signing is a big statement of intent about the Saints’ ambitions over coming seasons.
“We’re delighted to have secured the signature of such a highly-rated player,” he said. “Dan has shown his excellence year in, year out, for both the Ospreys and Wales, and he performed really well for the Lions this summer.
“The fact that he has put pen to paper a year in advance shows that Dan has plenty of belief in where we are going as a club and our ambitions for the future and we’re looking forward to welcoming him here next summer.”
Biggar says that he is already looking forward to the fresh challenge facing him at Franklin’s Gardens, but that he is also committed to helping Ospreys be successful this season.
“I’m hugely privileged to sign for a club with the history and tradition of Saints,” he says. “It’s extremely exciting to start a new chapter of my career with a club that shares my ambition to win trophies, which is where this club belongs. I have to say a massive thank you to the coaches and board for the confidence put in me and I look forward to working as hard as I ever have in my career to return the faith.
“This is an opportunity for me and my family to experience rugby in a different environment and playing in a town and surrounding area which has a massive passion for rugby was a huge attraction.
“I would like to thank everyone at the Ospreys and the Welsh Rugby Union who has supported and helped me throughout my career and an extra special thank you to the fans who have helped and supported me through highs and lows.
“To play for my home club was a dream come true, let alone to play as many times as I have done. I hope my passion for the shirt and people of this region has shone through in my performances and I would love to leave on a high note with some silverware. I also remain fully committed to Wales and achieving the best I can every time I pull on the red shirt.”