Gloucester and Leicester Tigers confirm swap deal for Jonny May and Ed Slater
Gloucester have announced that England wing Jonny May is to leave the club and join their Aviva Premiership rivals Leicester.
And Gloucester also confirmed lock Ed Slater will be moving in the opposite direction, departing Welford Road for Kingsholm.
May has scored nine tries in 27 Tests for England, and he started both games against Argentina on the recent summer tour.
Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys said that 27-year-old May decided he wanted to call time on his nine-year Gloucester career.
"Jonny approached the club and explained he wanted to leave Gloucester, and immediately our attention turned to strengthening the squad and the type of person we needed to recruit," Humphreys said.
"Jonny has been a big part of Gloucester over the past nine years, and everybody at the club wishes him the best in his future career.
"He has been an outstanding player, and very popular with the Gloucester supporters.
"But once he decided he didn't want to play for the club again, we had to move on and strengthen the squad ahead of the new season.
"Johan Ackermann (Gloucester's new head coach) has made it very clear that we need to dominate teams up-front if we are to be successful, and we feel that Ed's inclusion in the squad will add a lot to that key objective.
"Ed's leadership ability will also be a great influence on the rest of the pack, and he brings tremendous experience."
May, meanwhile, will strengthen a Leicester squad already boosted by the signing of his England team-mate George Ford from Bath, with his arrival in the east midlands following the departures of backs JP Pietersen and Peter Betham to Toulon and Clermont Auvergne respectively.
Reflecting on May's signing, Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor told the club's official website: "We are absolutely delighted to add to the quality of our backs with the signing of Jonny May.
"Jonny is a proven international and has played a lot of rugby at Premiership and Test level and will add a lot of experience to the squad.
"He is an out-and-out finisher with an outstanding try-scoring record, and I think he is a fantastic addition to the group."
Leicester, who also announced the signings of Tonga international back-row forward Valentino Mapapalangi and USA prop Chris Baumann on Monday, paid tribute to Slater, who made his Tigers debut in 2010.
"Ed has been a fantastic servant to the club," O'Connor added.
"He arrived as a young man and worked incredibly hard to put himself in the frame for England and to become club captain. We wish him all the best."
Slater, who can play in the second-row or back-row, will strengthen Gloucester's forward resources and becomes the third Leicester player to join the west country club this summer after Owen Williams and Fraser Balmain.
Humphreys said: "I have long been an admirer of Ed. With his leadership, experience and power he can add to our forward pack, and we have tried to bring him to Kingsholm in the past.
"We've made no secret of our intent to have an abrasive forward unit, and Ed's skill-set is exactly what we have been looking for."