Gloucester Rugby have completed their first external signing for next season with the news that Carl Fearns has agreed to join the club from French Top 14 side, Lyon.
The capture of Fearns, who has been in excellent form for Lyon in recent weeks, is a real coup for the Cherry and Whites given the competition for his signature and is the first of a number of signing announcements planned this week by the club.
The 27-year-old will bring a wealth of experience to the Gloucester back row when he arrives ahead of the 2017-18 season, capable of playing at number eight or on the flank and bringing a real physical presence to the squad.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) November 14, 2016
Fearns also boasts considerable Premiership nous, having made 93 appearances in total at his two previous English clubs, Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks. He has also been capped at England Saxons and U20s level, shortlisted as IRB Junior Player of the Year when playing for the latter.
He has spent the past two seasons with Lyon, helping the ambitious French outfit secure an immediate return from Pro D2 to the top flight. In that promotion season, he was voted Supporters’ Player of the Season and scored a try against Montpellier this past weekend.
The 27-year old is both a powerful ball carrier and huge presence in defence and Gloucester moved quickly to persuade the Merseyside born back rower to continue his career with the Cherry and Whites in the summer.
Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the club website that he’s delighted to have captured the signing of the big Liverpudlian.
“We’re very happy that Carl has opted to join Gloucester Rugby. He’s a quality performer who has made it clear that he wants to be playing in the Premiership to give himself the best possible chance of playing for England, and he sees Gloucester as the best place for him to achieve that goal.
“Carl is exactly the sort of individual that we were looking for to supplement what we already have in the back row. Skilful, tough, uncompromising and possessing a win at all costs attitude.
“He’s the kind of person you want alongside you when you’re up against it and we’re very happy that he’ll be joining us for next season. Carl’s signing is a statement of intent for the future and he won’t be the final signing we announce in the days to come.”
And Fearns himself is looking forward to the challenge once he returns to England.
“I’m thrilled to joining Gloucester Rugby. Historically they have been a powerhouse in English rugby and I’m looking forward to working with the players and coaches to help them achieve their ambitions.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing my rugby in France and I feel as though I have become a better player for it. I’m excited to return to the Premiership and get stuck in.”
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) November 14, 2016