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Wales wing Jonah Holmes destined for English Championship

By Steffan Thomas
Jonah Holmes scores his first try Wales /Getty

Wales wing Jonah Holmes is on the verge of joining Ealing Trailfinders after turning down a contract from the Welsh Rugby Union.

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The former Leicester speedster was keen to stay with the Dragons but was unhappy with the salary offered by the governing body.

In Wales, the salary of the elite 38 home-based players is set by the WRU under their wage banding system with the union paying 80 per cent of their contract.

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Holmes originally appealed against the figure he was offered with support from the Dragons but was dismissed by the WRU and has consequently decided to end his international career by moving back to England. The 29-year-old made his Wales debut under former coach Warren Gatland in 2018, going on to win seven caps before falling out of favour with head coach Wayne Pivac, who took over the national side following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

With the WRU operating a 60-cap selection rule, Holmes will become ineligible for Wales selection and has been replaced at the Dragons by Highlanders utility-back Patelesio Tomkinson.

Holmes was hoping to return to the Gallagher Premiership where he has previously represented both Wasps and Leicester but he has found it difficult to find a club with the salary cap having dropped to £5m. RugbyPass understands Holmes is very close to signing for ambitious Championship outfit Ealing.

Holmes’ decision to drop to the second tier of English rugby will raise a few eyebrows especially after Ealing were rejected for promotion to the Premiership despite finishing top of the Championship.

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The Trailfinders failed to meet the minimum standard criteria required for promotion but their ambitious owner, Mike Gooley, remains hopeful they will play in the top flight sometime in the near future, and the signing of international wing Holmes will be seen as a serious statement of intent.

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