Newcastle Falcons full-back Simon Hammersley is leaving the club after exercising a relegation release clause.
The 26-year-old had signed a two-year contract extension in January after making 103 appearances for the Falcons.
Director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Simon joined us while he was at Durham University, and we have spent a huge amount of time and effort developing him into a quality Premiership player who went on tour with England Saxons.
“We had hoped to keep our squad together, with everyone fighting together to regain our top-flight status.
“Whilst I understand Simon’s motivation to play at the highest level it is really disappointing to lose someone of his ability, who we have invested a huge amount of time and effort into.
“Ultimately that is professional sport, and we thank Simon for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future.”
Originally from Hull, he started his professional rugby career with Newcastle Falcons in 2013 making his first appearance in the annual Premiership Rugby 7’s competition whilst studying Economics at Durham University alongside current Shark Josh Beaumont.
Hammersley made his Premiership debut in 2014 at just 21 after impressing the Newcastle coaches during his first pre-season. The full-back went on to make 25 appearances for the Falcons that season.
After bursting onto the scene and two years of continued form, Simon was rewarded with a call up to the England Saxons squad to tour South Africa in 2016 but unfortunately suffered an ACL tear which ruled him out of selection for England and for the Falcons for most of the 2016/17 season.
After recovering from injury, Hammersley outlined his importance to the Newcastle squad on his return to action making 18 premiership appearances, reaching the semi-final of the Gallagher Premiership, in what was the Falcons’ best season in over 20 years.
The full-back had his most impressive season to date this year, making more meters (1813) than any other player, beating 68 defenders with 24 line breaks, better than any full-back in the Gallagher Premiership.
Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond was delighted to secure the services of such an exciting talent at the peak of his powers, He said:
”Simon has been an outstanding performer for Newcastle over the last couple of years, in particular against Sale! So when the opportunity arose to sign him we acted swiftly. He adds excellent depth to our backline and will be challenging for the number 15 shirt next season. We look forward to welcoming Simon to Carrington in the summer.
Commenting on the announcement Hammersley said: “I’m hugely excited for the next chapter of my career, Sale are a brilliant, ambitious side and play a great style of rugby. I’m really looking forward to getting started in the summer!”
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