Popular Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby captain Mike Coman will start a two-year deal with Scottish Pro 12 club Edinburgh at the end of this season's ITM Cup.
Coman, who will play his 34th first class game for the Magpies against North Harbour at Napier's McLean Park tomorrow, said his departure wasn't a reaction to yet another snub from Super Rugby selectors.
"I actually signed up for this deal at the start of this season. I'm ready for game time and I'm ready to play. It will be nice to be based in one place. I've had enough of driving between Hawke's Bay and Wellington," Coman said, referring to his time as a member of the Hurricanes wider training group.
Coman, who celebrated his 26th birthday today, said it would be "pretty sad" for him to leave the Bay.
"I've had some of the best years of my life here and have made so many friends. It's important I leave Hawke's Bay in the best possible position when I leave and that means I'll be doing my best to help the Magpies win the Championship and return to the Premiership ...
the next two games are crucial in that quest."
The Nelson-raised former Canterbury representative who played his club rugby for Napier Old Boys Marist said he has loved every minute of his time in the Bay.
"It was a very tough decision to move away but I'm really looking forward to this new chapter of my rugby career in Edinburgh."
"Whilst we are very sad to see Mike go, we are delighted for him that he has secured an excellent opportunity to experience British and European rugby and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours," Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO Mike Bishop said yesterday. "Mike has been a fantastic servant of Hawke's Bay rugby during his four years with us. He is thoroughly professional on and off the field of play and it was a fitting tribute to him that he was our captain when we lifted the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in 44 years this season.
"Not only will his tenacity and excellent leadership be missed, he is also a thoroughly likeable human being who is very popular with fans and sponsors of all ages."