Back row Pedrie Wannenburg is to leave Heineken Cup quarter-finalists, Ulster Rugby, at the end of this season.
Wannenburg, who played for South Africa on 20 occasions, joined Ulster ahead of the start of 2010-11 from the Blue Bulls franchise. The opportunity to bring him to Belfast arose when Ulster's deal with Xavier Rush (who was to leave Cardiff Blues for Ulster) fell through, but the impact he made well and truly illustrates that every cloud has a silver lining.
In his first season at the club, he featured in an outstanding 29 out of 30 competitive games amassing more minutes on the pitch than any other player that season in a feat of consistency and durability and in doing so became a real fan favourite.
Wannenburg has remained a very important part of the squad in his second season as Ulster prepare to meet Irish rivals Munster Rugby in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on 8 April, although injuries picked up both away to Edinburgh in January and at home to the same opposition in March have led him to miss a handful of games.
"While we're announcing now that Pedrie will be leaving us come the end of the season it does seem premature to be wishing him, his wife Evette and baby daughter Isabelle well at this stage as I know he remains absolutely committed to our cause as we enter the 'business-end' of the season" commented Ulster's Director of Rugby David Humphreys.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.