A key figure at Munster since returning for a second stint, JJ Hanrahan's departure to Clermont came at a bit of a shock to many but the pivot has explained why he is leaving the club.
The 28-year-old has revealed that he wasn't offered a new deal by Munster.
“It will be incredibly tough to say goodbye to lads,” Hanrahan told Radio Kerry’s Terrace Talk.
“When I found out the news of my situation at Munster, it was difficult to hear – something that I wasn’t expecting. At the same time, I understand that it’s a professional sport and these things can happen. It will be tough. You’re leaving family and friends behind, leaving your home, what you know about.
“Once I found out from Munster that I wasn’t going to get a contract there, I just had to go to the market and see where I was going to go next. It’s Munster or nothing for me in Ireland. I couldn’t see myself wearing a different jersey in Ireland.
With competition for starting minutes expecting to heat up next season at Munster, Hanrahan is set to feature more for his new club Clermont. The French club have Camille Lopez as their starting pivot with Tim Nanai-Williams his back up. The latter is reportedly set to leave the side at the end of the season while Lopez is in the latter stages of his career.
Speaking of the challenge ahead, Hanrahan said:
“I’m definitely more of an optimist than a pessimist. There’s a great challenge ahead. I have a bit of work on my hands to pick up a new language,” he added.
“I know plenty of lads who’ve played in the Top 14 and everyone says it’s an incredible experience. French people are a lot more laid back than potentially what Irish people are. I’ve seen that in a few of the interactions I’ve had with them already.
“Sometimes it can be a bit of a fishbowl in Limerick or Munster. You go over there and it’s a whole new world to experience.”