Greene King IPA Championship clubs’ precarious financial state is no great secret and very few have the flexibility in their budgets to go after a player as accomplished as Luke Wallace.
The majority of higher profile signings made in the competition in recent years have generally been made by the relegated team from the Gallagher Premiership, Ealing Trailfinders, who have significant financial backing, or Yorkshire Carnegie, before their recent money issues.
Coventry’s rise back up the English league structure has not gone unnoticed, however, nor has the healthy crowds they are attracting to Butts Park Arena.
Those crowds will now be treated to the sight of flanker Wallace, with the 28-year-old agreeing to move to Coventry for the 2019/20 season.
Speaking on the move, Wallace said “I am really looking forward to joining Coventry and linking up with the team next week. It is a good opportunity for me to join a strong squad and play my part during an exciting time for the club.”
The former Harlequin is one of a number of players let go by the Twickenham-based club this summer, with Head of Rugby Paul Gustard beginning to mould the squad to his liking, 12 months after leaving his role as England’s defence coach to take the reins. Wallace made 169 appearances during his 10-year stay at the club and represented England against the Barbarians, albeit in an uncapped match.
“Luke is going to add significant experience to the team and we are excited to get him on board,” said Coventry Director of Rugby Rowland Winter.
“We have lots of quality in the back row and the competition for places will be fierce, which is exactly what we need in order to drive our way up the league table.”
Wallace will join the likes of Jack Ram and Ben Nutley in the Coventry back row, as well as making the move to the West Midlands alongside fellow Quins academy product Stan South. Other arrivals from Premiership sides this summer include Gareth Denman, Ryan Burrows, James Voss and David Langley.
With increasing concern that the Premiership may seek to end promotion to the competition, the likes of Coventry and Ealing have strengthened significantly this summer, with both clubs intent on challenging Newcastle Falcons for top spot in English rugby’s second tier next season.
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