Big spending Ealing Trailfinders continue to plan to have a real shot at Saracens in next season’s Championship, Ben Ward’s Londoners signing four more players who all have Premiership experience, including Charlie Walker.

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Former Harlequins winger Walker has arrived from Zebre in the PRO14, another winger Dean Hammond has come from Worcester, back row Guy Thompson from Leicester and Shaun Malton from Bristol, the hooker who featured for Exeter during their Premiership title win in 2017. 

Walker, the 27-year-old who played 96 times for Quins before heading to Italy last summer, said: “I can’t wait to get going at Ealing. After hearing the club’s vision, seeing the facilities and speaking to players at the club it became an easy decision. It’s a short career and I’m hungry to win some silverware.”

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Hammond, another 27-year-old, joined the Warriors in 2013 from Western Province, making 81 appearances. “I’m excited to be part of a team that is breeding a winning culture and has the hunger to be the best they can be,” he said. 

The arrival of Thompson, the 33-year-old who joined Tigers in 2018 following 100 appearances for Wasps in the five seasons prior, had long been rumoured. “After speaking to Ben I was hugely impressed with the ambition of Ealing. Having watched them play, I’m excited to be playing some expansive rugby.”

Malton, the 30-year-old age-grade South African international, also had stints at London Irish, Nottingham and the Durban-based Sharks aside from featuring for the Bears and the Chiefs. “I met Ben at the ground and it was great to hear what he had to say, about where they want to be as a club in the next couple of years. I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Ealing director of rugby Ward told the club website: “Charlie is someone who we have known for a long time and I’m delighted that he chose to join us. He has the ability to change a game and make something out of nothing.

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“Dean offers us power and pace. We have worked hard to improve our outside backs and he will add a lot of value and competition to what we already have.

“Guy’s rugby CV speaks for itself and this is a huge signing for us. He has been at the top level for nearly a decade and I’m sure he will bring plenty to us, both on and off the pitch with his leadership.

“Shaun is a great character who will bring a huge amount to our squad. To bring in a player of his calibre is massively exciting for us and with his experience we see this is as a significant move to continue growing as a club.”

Ambitious Ealing had previously announced the signings of the likes of Ulster winger Angus Kernohan, Gloucester lock Simon Linsell and utility Exeter back Max Bodilly following their second-place finish behind Newcastle in the truncated 2019/20 season. 

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