Munster have confirmed that loosehead prop James Cronin will leave the province at the end of the season.
The 30-year-old has been unable to agree new terms with his home province, with his departure announced this afternoon.
The three-time Irish international has played 142 games for Munster since his debut in 2013, with an impressive strike rate of 20 tries.
His departure is notable in that it comes in the season when he has started more times for the province than in any previous season, with 13 starting appearances this campaign and a further three substitute appearances.
In a statement released through the province, James Cronin says his departure comes with "great regret".
"It’s with great regret that I announce my time with Munster Rugby will end this summer. It’s been a dream of mine to represent my province since I threw on my first jersey as a 6- year-old kid and I take great pride in knowing I’ve represented my province 142 times and my country on 3 occasions.
"I have made many life-long friends in my time playing here and have learnt so much from some great men, most notably the late Garrett Fitzgerald and Anthony Foley, and I thank everyone that I’ve worked with from my days in the sub academy to the current day.
"I want to say a special thanks to my family and friends who have always been with me for the highs, but also the lows, that come with professional rugby. To all the Munster fans also a big thank you," he said.
The notable low James Cronin refers to would be his one-month ban for an anti-doping offence in 2020. Cronin was found to have unintentionally consumed the banned substances prednisolone and prednisone when selected for an anti-doping test following Munster's Heineken Champions Cup game away to Racing 92 on November 23 of 2019.
He was subsequently given a one month suspension from mid-April until mid-May 2020.
Head Coach Johann van Graan said, "We are very thankful to James for everything he has done for Munster over his nine-year career with the province.
"It’s always difficult to lose homegrown talent of James’ calibre, someone who has always delivered for his home club.
"This is the unfortunate side of professional sport and the current environment we find ourselves in as we are unable to retain the services of a player of his quality. We wish James all the best for the future."
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