ULSTER FLY-HALF Ian Humphreys is ready to escape the shadow of his older brother and return to the English Premiership.
The younger brother of current director of rugby, David, Humphreys has been instrumental in Ulster’s progression to the Heineken Cup final, though was dropped in favour of Paddy Jackson for last Saturday’s Heineken Cup semi-final win over Edinburgh.
Humphreys has previously enjoyed a three-year spell in the Premiership with the Leicester Tigers before returning to his native province in 2008.
“Playing for my home Province has been the pinnacle of my career and I have savoured every moment.” Said Humphreys, in a statement released by the province this afternoon.
“However, after discussions with Brian Smith I have decided to join London Irish on a long-term deal, and be part of a group that aims to re-establish London Irish as a force in the Premiership, with a strong Irish identity.
“With my family’s future now secure, the next three weeks will be concentrated fully on the Ulster team where we will be doing everything possible to achieve our ambition of winning the Heineken Cup.”
Humphreys will be the second number 10 signed by Irish for next season after the club also secured the services of English international, Shane Geraghty. His exit could also pave the way for incoming coach, Mark Anscombe, to put his own shape on the Ulster back-line.
Current coach Brian McLaughlin praised the diminutive fly-half as being, “an excellent servant since he returned to play in the province four years ago and his performances have contributed to Ulster enjoying one of the most successful periods in their recent history.”
The outgoing boss also underlined the point that Humphreys contribution to Ulster is not yet complete, saying, “He is still very much in contention to play in the Heineken Cup Final in two weeks time. There would be no better way for Ian to finish his Ulster career than with a Heineken Cup winner’s medal.”