Donncha O'Callaghan moves to Worcester from Munster
Last Updated: 03/09/15 9:53am
Worcester have signed Ireland international lock Donncha O'Callaghan from Munster on a two-year contract.
The 36-year-old is moving to Sixways after spending 17 seasons with the Irish province and making over 270 competitive appearances.
The 94 times-capped forward was contracted to Munster until June 2016 but the club and the IRFU have accepted his request for an early release.
O'Callaghan played in the last three World Cups and won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009, but his last Ireland appearance came more than two years ago.
He was also selected for two British and Irish Lions tours, playing Test rugby during the 2005 New Zealand trip and in South Africa four years later when he captained the side.
O'Callaghan, who picked up two Heineken Cup titles and two Magners League titles with Munster, said: "It has been a huge decision for me to leave Munster, one that I have thought long and hard about. The opportunity to prolong my career is one that I couldn't pass up and I'm extremely grateful to Munster, the IRFU and Worcester for providing me with this opportunity.
"I am hungry for my new challenge. The developments and structures in place at Warriors are very exciting, but also the quality of management and the players at the club are something I cannot wait to be a part of.
"I watched the Bristol game where Warriors turned it around in the last seven minutes at the end of last season, and that was really impressive.
"Now I'm looking to win the respect of the management, the players and most importantly, the supporters, and I will be giving my absolute all."
Worcester rugby director Dean Ryan said: "The opportunity to bring someone in with such international and European experience is a real coup for the club.
"It's important to get a balance of proven and experienced performers and young developing talent integrated within the squad.
"Donncha has tremendous know-how at the highest level and will be able to offer our younger players a great deal of advice.
"His experience and leadership can only be of benefit to the team as we prepare for life in the Aviva Premiership."
Munster head coach Anthony Foley said: "I had the honour of playing with Donncha for over a decade and have witnessed first-hand everything he has achieved with Munster and Ireland.
"A true Munster man in every sense, his passion and commitment were clear for all to see. He is held in the highest regard on the world stage after excelling at every level and we are thankful for his immense contribution to the province."