Speculation over the future of Leinster and Ireland Number 8 Jamie Heaslip has been continuing for some weeks now and now, the big man from Dublin has finally made a decision.
Having taken the time to consider his options and the possibility of a move away from Irish shores, Leinster fans were fearful that the in-form 33-year-old might be about to jump ship for a lucrative final contract in the likes of the English Premiership or France’s Top 14.
Now however, according to the Irish Independent, the former Ireland captain has chosen to remain under the wing of the IRFU and Leinster, agreeing a three-year deal that will almost certainly see him finish his career with his beloved Leinster.
With his last contract worth in the region of €500,000 per year, it is understood this latest deal is of a similar figure and it was enough to ward off potential interest from big money clubs on the continent.
From an Ireland perspective the fact that the 2016 World Player of the Year nominee will remain within the IRFU will ensure that his playing time will be managed as meticulously as always to allow him be at his best for both province and country.
Were he to leave for England or France, his club commitments would take priority over those of the green jersey and as he nears the end of his career, the bruising nature of the modern game would almost surely have resulted in a degradation of performance.
Now, instead, Heaslip can enjoy the comforts of home, of an adoring fan base, and can help guide and inspire the next generation of Ireland stars coming through the ranks at Leinster.
Surely, at the end of the day, the man born in Tiberias, Israel, was never going to cross that sea, right?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena