France flanker Olivier Magne has agreed a two-year deal with London Irish after leaving Clermont Auvergne.
The 32-year-old Frenchman, who has 80 won caps with Les Bleus, announced in January that he would be leaving the Top 16 side after falling out with his manager.
And with the World Cup approaching it had become a necessity for the talented flanker to find a competitive challenge after missing out on the RBS 6 Nations with a serious foot injury.
''I have signed a two-year contract with London Irish, I am going to England with the great desire to enjoy myself,'' said Magne.
''I also had an offer from the Irish club of Leinster, it was not uninteresting but it did not suit me.
''I really wanted to go to London, this was a chance of a lifetime.
''Last week I came to London to visit the facilities, I also met the future and new manager Brian Smith.
''I really had a good contact with him. I like his philosophy of the game.''
Magne arrived in Clermont in June 1999 but never won any major titles - he came closest when reaching a Top 16 final in 2001 only to be beaten by Stade Toulouse.
London Irish finished 10th in the Premiership, narrowly avoiding relegation but Magne is confident he can bring a lot to the team.
''London Irish love the game and are very ambitious,'' Magne added in L'Equipe.
''I like the way they play with pace and movement, I like their style.
''They are boosting their team with new players and I really look forward to this new challenge.
''I think I will enjoy it a lot, make further progress and experience something different.''
Magne has not played with the French team since last November when a left elbow injury against New Zealand on November 27 forced him out of action for a few weeks before a serious right foot injury caused him to miss out on the RBS 6 Nations and sidelined him for a few months.
Last week he was called back up by coach Bernard Laporte to take part to the summer tour in South Africa and Australia but Magne's aim is the next World Cup which will be held on French soil in 2007.
''Playing in Europe is also the best way to remain a candidate for the French team in the next two seasons,'' he added.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.