Wallabies captain Stephen Moore will leave the Brumbies after the 2016 Super Rugby season to join the Queensland Reds.
Moore had indicated he was keen see out his career with the Brumbies, for whom he has played 102 matches since 2009.
But the Canberra-based club were unable to secure a deal with the skipper, despite moving “heaven and earth” to meet his “unique” demands.
Chief executive Michael Jones said the club was “exceedingly disappointed” by his decision to return to the Reds, where he made his Super Rugby debut in 2003.
“Stephen Larkham and I worked extremely hard to create a deal that was acceptable to Moore and his agent,” Jones said in a statement on Thursday.
“We were given a deadline and moved heaven and earth to satisfy that deadline including late night calls to South Africa where Moore was holidaying.”
Jones said the Brumbies made a “very generous” long-term offer late last Thursday, to which Moore’s agent agreed.
“After speaking with Stephen personally, he spoke passionately about wanting to remain a Brumby and pleaded with us to come up with an offer to meet his demands and counter offers from Europe,” added Jones.
“He clearly expressed the desire to stay in Canberra, wanted to be a Brumby and to extend his career through to the next Rugby World Cup and ultimately finish his career here.
“The discussions with myself and coaching staff left us in no doubt and with a clear impression that his long-term future would be with the Brumbies if we met the demands we were given.
“We met every one of those demands, so we were surprised and disappointed to find out he has agreed to join the Reds late last night.”
Coach Larkham said the side will now start planning for the 2017 without key man Moore.
“It’s disappointing that he has chosen to leave, but we now have to begin planning for a suitable replacement,” he said.
The Brumbies have plenty of depth in the hooker role, with Wallaby representative Josh Mann-Rea and the up-and-coming Robbie Abel, as well as recruit Albert Anae.
Moore will return to training on January 4.