Exeter Chiefs have announced that Irish centre Sean O'Brien will join the Gallagher Premiership club ahead of the 2021/22 season.
O'Brien is a product of Connacht Academy and went on to make his senior debut for the club in the 2015/16 season during the victorious Pro12 campaign and has already arrived in the city earlier this week to work with the Chiefs.
“It’s a great new challenge for me,” said O’Brien to the club's official website.
“I’ve had a great spell there, but now is the time for me to go and test myself in the Premiership.
“Exeter are a club who have been winning trophies, they play a great brand of rugby and the culture here looks great, who wouldn’t want to join them?”
The 26-year-old made his debut for the Irish under-20 team in the 2014 Six Nations Under 20s Championship and in the same year captained the side in the Junior World Championship.
“It’s good to get to know the place, the people, the calls, that way I can hit the ground running in pre-season,” added O’Brien.
“Coming over here is obviously going to be a different challenge, the league looks a lot more physical and faster, plus there are more international players playing each week, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter is delighted in securing the services of O'Brien.
“Obviously, we are always on the look out for talented, young players and recruitment is an ongoing process.
"Looking at our squad going forward - and the positions where you could potentially need cover - you could see potential around that midfield area for us to get a bit light.
“That said, I think Sean is one of those players who can push for a place straight away.
"We’ve seen quite a lot of him when he broke into the Connacht first team and he looks to me - when I code out the games - a player who has a lot of the characteristics that we look for in our players
“He’s a very good defender, deceptively quick, strong on the ball and when you break his game down, it’s actually very pleasing. He’s also in that right age range, early 20s, so he is one of those recruitment positions that kind of work all ways round for us."
Exeter Chiefs are currently at the second place in the Gallagher Premiership table with 15 wins from 20 games and will face Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks in the final two rounds of the league stage.