Edinburgh and Scotland prop Allan Dell will join London Irish, coach Richard Cockerill has confirmed.
The 26-year-old South Africa-born loosehead, who has 17 caps and also featured for the British and Irish Lions as injury cover during the 2017 tour of New Zealand, joined Edinburgh from Sharks in 2014.
Dell has slipped behind Pierre Schoeman in the pecking order for the No 1 jersey this season and Cockerill revealed he has chosen to move on to the team who are top of the second-tier English Championship at the end of the season.
“Allan won’t be with us next season, as far as I know he’s signed a contract with London Irish,” said Cockerill. “It’s a good opportunity for him and he’s got family that have just moved to London, so it’s turned into a perfect storm for him, he’s had a good offer.
“Dell is a very good player and the competition here drives everyone to be a good player.
“I don’t think it’s anything about his playing time, it’s about opportunity. London Irish are coming up [to the Premiership] and they have a good budget to recruit a squad, and Allan will be part of that. We wish him well but we have six months of our season left and he’ll be an important part of that.”
Southern Kings, meanwhile, confirmed yesterday that their 25-year-old former South Africa Under-20 hooker Mike Willemse is in talks with Edinburgh about joining next season.
“We’re talking to lots of players, he’s one of them,” said the Edinburgh coach.