With the return of the Gallagher Premiership getting ever closer and all 20 Rugby World Cup contingents out in Japan for the foreseeable future, a number of English clubs have been caught short with their squad depth.
Due to injuries to Alex Goode and Max Malins, as well as four backs being on duty with their respective national teams, Saracens recently had to announce the short-term signing of Stormers and South Africa full-back/fly-half Damian Willemse as a medical joker.
Sale Sharks have also been impacted by Rugby World Cup call ups and with effervescent scrum-half Faf de Klerk set for what looks like a long stint at the tournament with the Springboks, Steve Diamond has reportedly been looking around for some extra cover in the nine jersey.
According to South African newspaper Rapport, Diamond has found his man and is shortly set to announce the signing of Embrose Papier on a two-month deal.
Papier, 22, has already won seven caps for the Boks, although he was deemed surplus to requirements last month, as de Klerk, Cobus Reinach and recent revelation Herschel Jantjies were the favoured trio for Rassie Erasmus. Per Rapport, Papier could be the next man up for Erasmus should he lose a scrum-half to injury.
The Bulls half-back made his international debut against Wales in Washington DC last year and he was a regular in the Springbok 23s that year, although the form of de Klerk and Reinach at their respective Premiership clubs has seen him fall down the pecking order. Jantjies’ breakout season for the Stormers and impressive opening games for the Boks also hampered his chances of making the plane to Japan.
An incisive and sharp runner around the fringes, Papier would help Sale replicate a lot of what de Klerk offers in attack, whilst ensuring the burden is not too heavy on the club’s young homegrown pairing of Gus Warr and Raffi Quirke.
Quirke, 18, recently impressed in the Premiership Rugby 7s tournament and is in his first year as a professional player with Sale, where he will compete with Warr and Will Cliff in de Klerk’s absence.
Watch: Owen Farrell and Eddie Jones face the press ahead of their RWC opener
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