Newcastle Falcons and England back-rower Mark Wilson will spend the 2019-20 season on loan at Sale Sharks.
The 29-year-old is contracted to the Falcons for the next four years but has agreed a season’s loan so he can pursue his international aspirations following the Falcons’ relegation to the Greene King IPA Championship.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: “This has not been an easy decision for Mark because he is very loyal to the Falcons, but at the same time we understand he has to think about his England selection.
“Playing Premiership rugby gives him the best possible chance of maintaining his place in the national squad, and as disappointing as it is to lose a player of his ability for a season we fully understand Mark’s reasoning in reaching this decision.
“Even in his absence we believe we have a squad capable of earning promotion back into the Premiership at the first attempt, without of course taking anything for granted, after which point we would look forward to welcoming Mark back into the fold.
“I don’t think anyone can question Mark’s loyalty after making 224 appearances for the club and the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout that time, and we wish him and Sale Sharks all the best for the coming season.”