Gloucester's talented young hooker, Phil Greening, is on the verge of turning down an offer of pounds 170,000 over two years to join Rob Andrew's Second Division Newcastle. Greening, who has three England A caps, rejected an earlier Newcastle bid of pounds 75,000 per year for his services.
Greening, 20, who has three England A caps, said: "I'd rather play for Gloucester for 10p than go to Newcastle for pounds 85,000. It means going away from home and leaving everyone at the club.
"I've talked to Richard Hill [Gloucester's director of coaching] and we have come to the conclusion that it would be best for my England prospects if I stayed here."
The Bristol University and England A stand-off, Alex King, has reached the same conclusion. The 21-year-old is expected to sign for Gloucester this week. The West Hartlepool captain, Tim Stimpson, 22, is being courted by Newcastle and Sale.
The Rugby Football Union and its leading clubs made some progress on how to administer the professional game, and who gets what in it, in yet another meeting in London yesterday. But a joint statement issued afterwards noted that there were still "clear differences" to be resolved. The two sides intend speedily to meet again, possibly this week. The RFU is understood to have accepted the clubs' wish for a 12-team English First Division next season.
Yesterday negotiators - the RFU represented by Cliff Brittle, executive chairman, and Tony Hallett, secretary, with Donald Kerr of Harlequins heading the English Professional Clubs' delegation - discussed specific differences, including competition structure, player contracts and management organisation.
SWALEC CUP Semi-final draw: Llanelli v Pontypridd; Newport v Neath (Ties to be played Saturday 13 April).Reuse content