Gloucester have finally confirmed the worst kept secret at Kingsholm – that Freddie Burns will quit the club at the end of the season.
The 23-year-old who is out of contract in the summer has been targeted by several high-profile clubs.
And he will bring an end to a five-year spell at the Cherry and Whites to pen a long term deal with Premiership rivals Leicester Tigers.
Nigel Davies said: “A number of players are out of contract at the end of the season, and I’ve been pleased to date with those who have re-signed, including the likes of Sione Kalamafoni, Henry Trinder and Billy Twelvetrees.
“Attention has naturally turned to Freddie Burns’ situation and, despite lengthy dialogue, we have decided to part company.
“Therefore, we feel that it is important to clarify the situation. Doubtless, a statement on Freddie’s future club will be made in due course. However, in terms of Gloucester Rugby, we know where we stand and we will move forward accordingly.
“Freddie has made a tremendous contribution to Gloucester Rugby and, when he does leave us at the end of the season, everyone at the Club will wish him well.
“Until that time however, I know that Freddie will be fully committed to Gloucester Rugby and that he will be determined to help us be as successful as possible this season."
The England fly-half is rated as one of the hottest properties in the Premiership and has made 99 appearances for the club and racked up more than 800 points since bursting onto the scene in 2009.
But he has suffered from a loss of form this season and cited uncertainty over his future as a cause for concern.
He was dropped to the bench for the recent victories over Worcester Warriors and London Irish but returned to the starting line-up following a groin injury to Henry Trinder.
But despite his impending departure the mercurial play-maker insists he remains fully committed to the cause for the remainder of the season.
Burns said: “I’ve had a lot of things to consider regarding my future in recent months, and it’s not been easy. But I’m still a Gloucester player and will be giving it 100%, as I always have done, whenever I pull on the shirt.
“Gloucester have been incredibly supportive, they have been ever since I first joined the club. I have so many people to be grateful to. Whatever happens in the future, it all started here for me and I’ll always be thankful for that.”
Davies will now step up his recruitment drive for a new fly-half. The Cherry and Whites appear set to miss out on one target in Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland, who is on the verge of signing a new deal with the Scarlets.
But Stephen Brett, Santiago Fernandez, Johan Goosen and Matthew Morgan all remain targets for the club.