Ireland and Munster prop Tony Buckley has signed a three-year deal to join Aviva Premiership side Sale Sharks after turning down a contract offer from his home province and the IRFU.
Commenting on his move to England next season, Buckley said: 'I felt I needed a new challenge. I believe the best club to give me that challenge and also help me become a better player is Sale Sharks. They are hungry and ambitious for success and I want to be a part of that.
‘However, at this moment in time, I am a Munster player until the end of June. My priorities for now are to help Munster achieve success in the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Magners League and to regain a place in the Irish squad.'
Buckley's move could pave the way for Mike Ross to return to Munster. Ross began his career with the southern province before moving to English Premiership side Harlequins and then joining Leinster.
It has been suggested that Ireland tighthead Ross will move back to Munster at the end of this year with current Connacht tighthead Jamie Hagan set for a return to Leinster.
Munster Rugby confirmed that the 30-year-old will leave and said he had declined a contract offer from the province and the IRFU.
Commenting on the news, Munster Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald said: 'We are disappointed that Tony has opted to further his career overseas but he leaves Munster with our best wishes.'
Meanwhile Munster have named their squad for their Magners League game against Edinburgh at Thomond Park Stadium on Friday evening.
Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer and Denis Leamy are all back in the reckoning to line-out for the province after international duty.
Munster squad: Darragh Hurley, Marcus Horan, Wian Du Preez, Peter Borlase, Tony Buckley, Stephen Archer, Damien Varley, Denis Fogarty, Donnacha Ryan, Ian Nagle, Mick O’Driscoll, Denis Leamy, Tommy O’Donnell, Billy Holland, James Coughlan, Duncan Williams, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Scott Deasy, Denis Hurley, Paul Warwick, Sam Tuitupu, Lifeimi Mafi, Doug Howlett, Johne Murphy, Simon Zebo, Tom Gleeson