As with any side that gets relegated from the Gallagher Premiership, Newcastle Falcons are bracing themselves for a number of losses from their senior squad.
Whether through players invoking release clauses in their contracts or coming to an agreement with the club to leave, perhaps just temporarily, there are likely to be several players heading for pastures new this summer.
Following their loss to Gloucester, which confirmed their relegation to the Greene King IPA Championship, Mark Wilson and Simon Hammersley have both been heavily linked with moves to Sale Sharks, the former on a one-year loan and the latter on a permanent deal.
Not content with relegating Newcastle alone, it seems Gloucester are also ready to raid the side from the north-east, with the Cherry and Whites, per RugbyPass sources, leading the race to sign centre Chris Harris.
Harris, 28, has won eight caps for Scotland since his debut in 2017 and it’s likely he would have to be playing top tier rugby in order to keep alive his hopes for international selection next season. RugbyPass understand that should Gloucester secure their man, it would be on a one-year loan deal, rather than as a permanent signing.
Newcastle aren’t just building a squad to gain promotion from the Championship next season, they’re also building one to survive in the Premiership in 2020/21. How does it stack up? https://t.co/11y0egDZtk
— Alex Shaw (@alexshawsport) May 5, 2019
Gloucester have leant heavily on Billy Twelvetrees in the 13 jersey this season, with Henry Trinder continuing to suffer from persistent injuries. The arrival of Harris would bolster their options in the midfield, as well as providing cover on the wing, where Gloucester have also found themselves stretched thin by injuries at points during this season.
As for Newcastle, the loss of Harris would be a significant one, with the Scotland international having proven key to their march to the Premiership playoffs last season and been a mainstay in the starting XV during this campaign.
With Pedro Bettencourt confirmed as leaving for Oyonnax, Falcons’ options at outside centre are beginning to look thin next season, with a lot likely to be expected of Tom Penny and George Wacokecoke.
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