England flanker Mark Wilson has returned to newly-promoted Newcastle having managed just three appearances on loan for Sale Sharks who expect Stormers lock Cobus Wiese to arrive in Manchester at the start of July – once he has passed his English test.

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Wilson underwent knee surgery in November after England’s World Cup campaign in Japan and managed just one start for Sale during his year-long loan from Newcastle along with two replacement appearances. 

While Wilson has exited the club as it ramps up preparations ahead of the targeted August 15 resumption of the suspended Gallagher Premiership 2019/20 season, back in the mix is fit-again former captain Josh Beaumont.

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South African World Cup winner Joel Stransky guests on The Lockdown, the RugbyPass pandemic interview series

He is back running after his knee reconstruction and will bolster the second row options when the season starts again, along with the highly-rated 6ft 6in Wiese whose arrival signals the end of the English club’s South African shopping expedition.

Wiese will be part of a powerful South African contingent headed by World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager and Steve Diamond, the Sale director of rugby, is relishing the prospect of getting a fully-fit squad ready for the resumption of the Premiership with the club in second place behind Exeter ahead of another nine regular-season games.

Wiese is currently waiting to satisfy the criteria for his visa which includes visiting a government office in South Africa to prove his command of English. However, the Covid-19 lockdown means those offices are currently closed and the 23-year-old Springbok U20 player has no alternative but to wait for the chance to take his test.

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Diamond told RugbyPass: “Mark has gone back to Newcastle and it was a good experience for us although he didn’t get to play that much with the operation and then Covid-19. He is a great lad and we wish him well with Newcastle. 

“With them going down and Mark being a good player in an area where we were a bit light meant it worked for everyone, but I don’t think we would look at loans on a regular basis. The Cobus deal is done but there are no English test offices open in South Africa at the moment.

“Part of the visa protocol is passing an English test and they are still under lockdown. The contract starts on July 1 and we will be trying to get him as near to that date as we can and he is coming as a lock. All of our South African players who went back home are now here with their families and everyone is fully fit.

“Josh Beaumont, who had that horrendous injury, is back running and it’s all good news. The whole squad is fully fit and while we may be a kilo light we are working on that at the minute. 

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“This stage one period is serving us well. I wish we could start playing tomorrow because our squad is ready and this is a unique time. We are going to see just how good this squad is and if it can realise its potential.”

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