Former Bath rugby back rower, Carl Fearns, has signed for bitter West Country rivals Gloucester. His contract, believed to be three years long will see him link up with Gloucester in time for the start of the 2017/18 season according to the BBC.
The Lyon man, who also played for Sale, left Bath and the Rec faithful after a frustrating 2014/15 season which saw his game-time considerably shortened by the transition of league convert Sam Burgess into the Bath back row. Fearns sighted the favouritism given to the rugby league convert as one of his reasons for leaving the club seeking pastures new when he went abroad and signed a two year deal at French club Lyon.
Having helped Lyon gain promotion to the Top 14 after winning the Pro D2 last term, Fearns now turns his attention back to the English domestic game with a spot in the England team behind his motivation to return to the Aviva Premiership.
Fearns’ signing is a positive one for Gloucester fans who will see him link up in a back row with players such as young Welsh tyro Ross Moriarty. Fearns’ arrival at Kingsholm will bring another player with a tough tackling, abrasive ball carrying game to the Gloucester back row and with the flexibility and ability to play six, seven or eight, he will give the side pack some extra grunt no matter where he plays.
The implications it may have though, with regards to Gloucester fans’ hopes of retaining back row talents Matt Kvesic and Ben Morgan, may not be as positive however. Open-side Kvesic has already been linked with Exeter Chiefs whilst number 8 Morgan is also touted to move away.
Should Kvesic indeed move away from Gloucester following Fearns’ arrival a back row roundabout could come into effect as this could see either veterans Julian Salvi and Tom Johnson or up and coming 7 Sam Simmonds leave Exeter. With Simmonds only 22 and widely expected to be a future starlet it seems likely that some of the more senior members such as Johnson or Salvi would leave.
Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has already tasted success turning unwanted England talents into top Aviva Premiership performers with Thomas Waldrom a revelation since his move down to the far south-west. Kvesic’s expected arrival at Exeter would only further competition in a back row that already has the aforementioned Waldrom as well as Don Armand, Dave Ewers and Dave Dennis to name but a few.
Gloucester fans though will undoubtedly though rue any decision to let the fetcher and number 8 Morgan leave despite Fearns’ confirmed arrival.
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