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Josh Strauss to exit Sale Sharks

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Josh Strauss to exit Sale Sharks contract a year early to sign for the Bulls

Scotland back-row Josh Strauss has agreed to join the Bulls and will leave Sale Sharks with a year left on his contract at the club.

The 32-year-old will return to the country of his birth after spending two years with the Sharks in the English Premiership.

Sale are willing to allow him to leave early, having bolstered their back-row options for the coming season with the additions of Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez, as well as England’s Mark Wilson.

Glasgow Warriors, Strauss’ previous club, had been in dialogue with his representatives last month, but did not offer him a contract.

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Several sides in France had shown an interest in the strong-carrying back-row, and although Strauss has long been keen to play in the Top 14, no deal could be reached.

The former Lions player made 21 appearances in the Premiership and European Challenge Cup last term, starting only five of the 15 league matches in which he was involved.

He showcased much of his barnstorming best rugby in Glasgow colours, and was a particular favourite of the Warriors supporters, some of whom feel his colossal carrying has never quite been replaced.

After joining from the Lions in 2012, Strauss helped Glasgow win their first trophy in the form of the 2015 Pro12 title and qualified to represent Scotland on residency grounds the same year.

He made his Test debut at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has amassed 22 caps, featuring in all five of this year’s Six Nations matches.

Strauss is a member of Gregor Townsend’s 44-man training squad for this year’s global showpiece, but faces stiff competition to make the plan to Japan, with Glasgow co-captain Ryan Wilson and the outstanding Matt Fagerson, as well as Magnus Bradbury of Edinburgh, the versatile Sam Skinner of Exeter Chiefs, and Scarlets’ Blade Thomson competing for places at blind-side flanker and number eight.

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Josh Strauss to exit Sale Sharks contract a year early to sign for the Bulls