According to RugbyPass sources, London Irish wing Alex Lewington has agreed a move to Saracens at the end of the season.
A product of the Leicester Tigers academy, Lewington joined London Irish in 2013 and has made a significant impact for the Exiles, with his try-scoring exploits quickly cementing him as a fan favourite at the Madejski.
The 26-year-old was included in an England training squad in May of 2016, but RugbyPass understands that Eddie Jones and his coaching team were not overly pleased with his display, with particular concern over his defence. Ultimately, Lewington did not tour Australia with the senior team, but did go to South Africa with the England Saxons and won his first cap at that level in Bloemfontein.
Jones is well-known for his pragmatism and any amount of attacking ability will not make up for defensive frailties in his eyes, something which may well have played a role in Lewington’s decision to join the reigning European champions.
In addition to moving from a team currently in a desperate relegation battle to one that has won five trophies in the last three years, he also puts himself under the tutelage of Alex Sanderson, one of the preeminent defence coaches in the game.
Upon his move to North London, Lewington will compete with Liam Williams, Sean Maitland and Chris Wyles for a spot on the wing, as well as senior academy prospects Matt Gallagher, Rotimi Segun, Elliot Obatoyinbo and Alistair Crossdale.
One of the more interesting dominos yet to fall from this deal is the future of Nathan Earle.
The former England age-grade star and Mitre 10 Cup-winner with Canterbury is in the last season of his contract with the club and the arrival of another wing could spell trouble.
Earle had been keen to stay at the club but the signing of Lewington will not only add further competition at a congested spot in the Saracens team, but it also potentially weakens the financial muscle the club is able to wield in contract negotiations and remain within the salary cap.
The signing of Lewington should be publicly confirmed in the New Year.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now