BATH Rugby favourite Matt Banahan has confirmed that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season to join Aviva Premiership rivals Gloucester.

Banahan, 31, has made more than 250 appearances for Bath in a 12-year career, scoring 90 tries.

The Jersey-born player joined Bath in 2006 as a forward, but was moved to the wing by former coach Brian Ashton before being named in the England Sevens squad in 2007.

Fan favourite Banahan then represented England Saxons three times in 2008, before making his senior debut in 2009 against Argentina. He went on to earn 16 caps for England, including being selected for the 2011 World Cup squad.

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said: “We’ll be really sad to see Matt leave at the end of the season, but we completely understand the decision he has made with his family and future in mind.

“I’d like to thank him for all his efforts over the years - he’s been a fantastic servant for Bath.

"Everyone at the club wishes him well with the next chapter of his career and will welcome him back to the Rec when the time comes.

"I’ve no doubt he’ll remain as committed as ever as we work to achieve our aims for the rest of the season.

“We’re working hard to ensure we get the right balance in the squad, taking into account the various complexities of building the squad we want long-term, and we will make further announcements on recruitment when appropriate.”

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys said: "We are thrilled that Matt has decided to join Gloucester Rugby at the end of the season.

"Matt has had a wonderful career at Bath and he will bring a huge amount of quality and experience to the young, exciting squad we are building in Gloucester.

"His versatility and ability to play in a number of positions across the backline adds real depth to our squad and Matt's quality will complement the style of rugby Johan Ackermann has brought to the club this season.

"I know how tough a decision it was for Matt to leave Bath but we're all looking forward to seeing him playing in Cherry and White next season."