Bedford Blues have confirmed that captain and Greene King IPA Championship Player of the Year Michael Le Bourgeois has agreed a deal to move to Premiership side Wasps for the 2018/19 season.
Le Bourgeois, 27, who scooped the RPA Award on Wednesday night, had penned a new deal with the Goldington Road club in February and has been in spectacular form this season.
His flawless displays in the Championship and British & Irish Cup made him one of the standout centres playing in the second tier and earned him a place in the Championship Dream Team, so it was no surprise that the Premiership came calling.
Speaking about the departure of Le Bourgeois, Bedford Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “Everyone at the club is thrilled for Michael.
“He has developed so much over the past five years and really has led the squad by example this campaign so it is great to see that his abilities have been noticed by one of the ‘big boys’.
“Yes, we are sad to be losing such a talented player, but we would not stand in the way of someone who dreams of playing in the Premiership and now Booj has that opportunity with Wasps.
“We all wish Michael the very best of luck in the future and thank him for all of his effort both on and off the pitch at Bedford Blues.”
Le Bourgeois added: “This was a really tough decision for me to make particularly as I’d just committed to the Blues for two more years, but having the opportunity to play Premiership rugby doesn’t come around very often and I’m thrilled to have this chance with Wasps.
“I want to thank Mike, Geoff Irvine, the coaches, staff and all the players at Bedford Blues for a fantastic season and a wonderful five years at the club.
“I was made to feel very welcome from the moment I joined and I was so proud to just pull on the famous Blues jersey let alone be made captain and lead the club forward.
“I also want to say a huge thank you to the Bedford Blues fans who have always been magnificent. It has been an honour to play in front of them and I will truly miss running out on the Goldington Road pitch in front of such a wonderful set of fans.”
Le Bourgeois joined the Blues in 2013 having moved from fellow Championship side Jersey Reds.
Starting his rugby career in the Jersey Academy in 2008, ‘Booj’ signed for Jersey in 2011 and became the first Jersey Academy graduate and Jersey born player to sign a professional contract with the club.
Comfortable at playing in the centre, fly half, on the wing and at full-back, Le Bourgeois provides both versatility and skill to the Bedford Blues squad.
He was first named captain of the Blues at the end of the 2015/16 campaign before taking on the job full-time the following season.