After a standout season in which he established himself in the England side, Mark Wilson has become one of the hottest properties in rugby this summer.
The 29-year-old, who played in all nine of England’s games during the 2018/19 season, has become available following Newcastle Falcons’ relegation to the Greene King IPA Championship, albeit only on a loan basis, with the flanker keen to return to the club should they secure promotion back to the Gallagher Premiership.
Wilson has been with Newcastle for his entire professional career, making over 220 appearances in all competitions, and a temporary move away is the only way for the back rower to continue his international career following the Rugby World Cup.
Plenty of teams have been linked with the in-demand man, but RugbyPass understand that it has become largely a two-horse race between Sale Sharks and Harlequins for Wilson’s considerable, albeit short-term, services.
RugbyPass also understand that Leicester Tigers are still showing interest in the Kendal-native, whilst London Irish had expressed interest in Wilson, although they have since fallen out of the running.
Sale have recruited heavily this summer, bringing in the likes of Lood de Jager, Akker van der Merwe and Robert du Preez from South Africa, as well as luring Wilson’s current teammate Simon Hammersley down from the north-east.
Sharks are already loaning in two back rowers in the forms of Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, although that has not dampened their interest in a temporary move for Wilson.
As for Harlequins, they have let a number of high earners leave the club this summer and used that salary cap space to bring in the likes of Stephan Lewies, Scott Baldwin and Michele Campagnaro, among others.
They have supplemented their back row options with the additions of Tom Lawday and Will Evans, too, although Mat Luamanu and Luke Wallace have left the club, freeing up space in the loose forwards.
With the flanker keen on adding to his tally of 13 England caps and returning to Newcastle for the 2020/21 season, having signed a new four-year deal back in January, his decision could come down to which club he believes will give him the better chance of doing that.
Wilson was recently announced in both of Eddie Jones’ two initial training camps for the Rugby World Cup later this year and, barring injury, looks set to be one of the 31 players that boards the plane to Japan.
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