Payne said: “It’s not great for us that Tony is leaving. There has been the odd injury worry and things like that which haven’t run his way but on his day, though, there is hardly a better prop out there.
“His contribution around the pitch is brilliant. However, sometimes players get offered a lot more and longer terms from other clubs and they can’t be matched. It’s obviously an Irish problem as well and not an ideal scenario. There are lots of things which we can’t talk about.
“Tony was offered a very good deal and players need to look after themselves and their families. There is a lot more that goes into a decision like this than you see at face value.”