Pau have confirmed the heavily-rumoured signing of back row Paddy Butler from Munster on two-year contract.
The 24-year-old, who has experience across the back row positions, has been in excellent form in recent times.
While Butler’s move to Pau was understood as having already been completed when his departure from Munster was confirmed in January, the French outfit have waited until now to officially announce the signing.
Former Munster number eight James Coughlan is already at the club, who were promoted into the Top 14 for next season after a dominant campaign in the second-tier Pro D2.
Fellow Munster flanker Sean Dougall will make the move to Pau alongside Butler this summer, providing head coach Simon Mannix with the prospect of fielding an all ex-Munster back row in the Top 14.
New Zealander Mannix is a former Munster man himself, having spent two seasons with the province as Rob Penney’s backs and attack specialist. He departed from Munster at the end of the 2013/14 season along with Penney, moving into his current role with Pau.
Furthermore, ex-Munster video analyst Elliot Corcoran is installed as an important part of the backroom staff at the ambitious and wealthy Aquitaine-based club.
Coughlan was sensational for Pau in the back row as they gained promotion with relative comfort this season, winning plaudits both from Section‘s supporters and from the French media.
Pau have landed All Blacks stars Conrad Smith and Colin Slade ahead of next season, while Euan Murray, Chris King, Julien Pierre, Thierry Lacrampe and Watisoni Votu are also set to join the club.
Backed by multinational oil company Total – who have increased their investment to €4.5million per season – and a number of other benefactors, money appears to be no object to Pau.
Tipperary man Butler will add more quality to their back-row options, having represented Ireland at U20 level before going on to make 64 appearances for Munster.
He was outstanding at openside in the recent Guinness Pro12 semi-final win against the Ospreys and also started the final defeat to Glasgow Warriors.