Heineken Cup and Premiership runners-up Saracens have signed front-row forward Kieran Longbottom from Australian Super Rugby side, Western Force.
The 28-year-old has player 54 times for the Force since he signed in 2008 and is eligible to play for both Australia and England, but because the Wallabies do not select players who join European clubs, he looks to have made a decision to attempt to get into the England side ahead of the Australian side.
Mark McCall, Saracens' Director of Rugby, said: "We are delighted that Kieran and Brigitta have decided to come to London. He has shown up consistently well in our scouting reports, and he will prove an outstanding addition to the squad.”
Longbottom added: “Saracens are recognised as one of the go-forward clubs in Europe, and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”
On the issue of Longbottom moving out of the Southern Hemisphere, Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has admitted he was frustrated by the decision.
“He was definitely a guy we looked at very strongly and we did, after all, pick his two front-row partners at the Force (hooker Nathan Charles and loosehead Pek Cowan), but these are the decisions players make," he was quoted by Sky Sports telling The Australian.
“It’s a bit frustrating. I spoke to him back in January so he would know he was at least on our radar.”
Longbottom is the third forward signed by Sarries, following Scotland lock Jim Hamilton and Argentinian prop Juan Figallo.
They have also recruited England Sevens winger Mike Ellery as they look to finish with some silverware next season following their gut wrenching losses in two finals last month.
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