Centre Maxime Mermoz has agreed a move to Newcastle Falcons at the end of the season, despite making his Leicester Tigers debut just last week.
The 30-year-old joined Leicester at the start of February from Toulon, after a highly successful career in France.
Mermoz won two European Champions Cups and a Top 14 title with Toulon, plus a further two French domestic championships with Toulouse and Perpignan.
Signed as short-term injury cover for the Tigers’ Matt Toomua and Manu Tuilagi, the France international scored a try within half an hour of his debut against Gloucester last weekend.
Mermoz has been capped 35 times for his country and boasts 167 appearances in the French top flight.
Newcastle Falcons’ director of rugby Dean Richards told their official website: “Maxime’s signing is a major statement of intent for Newcastle Falcons.
“We have been working hard over a long period of time to make this move happen.
“The fact that he will spend the back half of this season with Leicester Tigers is ideal in the sense that he will already be accustomed to Aviva Premiership rugby by the time he arrives with us in the summer, and we are excited by what he will bring to the group.”
Mermoz added: “I am really happy to join the Falcons and I have been attracted by the ambitious plans of this historic club, which was the starting point of my former team-mate and legend Jonny Wilkinson.
“I expect to share my experience and bring my contribution to achieve the ambitious goals of the team. But I also come to learn and experience something new.
“This is a big challenge, but really exciting and motivating. I love it, I feel grateful and want to pay back the trust shown in me by Newcastle Falcons.”
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