Saturday 22 October 2016

Strettle jumps ship to join Clermont

Nigel Whittaker

Published 23/06/2015 | 02:30

Strettle: Joining Clermont
Strettle: Joining Clermont

England wing David Strettle has withdrawn from Stuart Lancaster's World Cup training squad after joining French club Clermont Auvergne.

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The 31-year-old, who won the Premiership title with Saracens last month, has signed a three-year deal with the French side.

"The opportunity to join Clermont and the subsequent decision to leave Saracens obviously was difficult and not one I have taken lightly," Strettle, who has played 14 times for England, said in a statement.

"Having now committed to a three-year move at what I feel is the right time in my career and for my family, I would like to begin that challenge right away.

"With the England training camp beginning this week I wanted to be fair to Stuart and the rest of the squad before that started."

Lancaster, who said that Strettle's decision was "disappointing", has called up Bath's Semesa Rokoduguni to fill the vacancy.

Strettle's move to Clermont prevents him from being considered for England under RFU rules which state that Lancaster can select overseas-based players only in "exceptional circumstances", such as an extreme injury list.

Lancaster said: "Clearly a lot has been going on with David recently with the late interest from Clermont and his decision to leave Saracens.

"After visiting France recently and discussing it with his family, he has made the decision to move early to get settled before the season in France starts.

"Obviously it is disappointing but David and I have chatted and he feels that, having made the move, he wants to get on with forging his new career and we both agreed it was the best course of action for him to withdraw from the squad."

Rokoduguni, a serving soldier, made his first England appearance against New Zealand in November 2014. He is currently in Fiji, where he was born, but will join up with the squad as soon as possible.

Irish Independent

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