Australia flanker Rocky Elsom is set to join Leinster in September after being granted early release from his Wallabies contract.
Elsom, who has won 33 caps and was a member of the NSW Waratahs side that reached the Super 14 final, will move to the Magners League champions at the end of the forthcoming Tri-Nations.
Australia confirmed Elsom will not be available to play for the Wallabies on their November tour of Europe.
His contract with the Australian Rugby Union was due to expire on December 31 but he was granted an early release on "compassionate grounds".
ARU chief executive John O'Neill indicated Elsom would spend a year with Leinster before returning to Australian rugby.
But O'Neill stressed Elsom was not being awarded a sabbatical, as the New Zealand Rugby Union recently offered to star fly-half Dan Carter and captain Richie McCaw.
O'Neill said: "This was a specific request and we looked at all the factors involved. He took us into his confidence and this remains a confidential matter between Rocky and the ARU.
"What we can say is that we have offered Rocky valuable advice moving forward. We also factored into the equation that not giving him this assistance, in the form of an early release, meant we could have lost him to Australian rugby permanently.
"As it stands now, we hope to have Rocky back in Australia by the middle of next year."
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