Sale sign England flanker Hendre Fourie

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The Independent Online

Sale Sharks have signed England flanker Hendre Fourie on a two-year deal from Leeds Carnegie.

Sharks have paid an undisclosed fee for his services.

Fourie was still under contract at Leeds, but they gave him permission last week to speak with other clubs.

Fourie, 31, still had a year of his existing Leeds contract to run, but he turned down the offer of a new three-year deal with them.

Leeds' relegation from the Aviva Premiership was confirmed earlier this month when Worcester clinched the Championship title following victory over Cornish Pirates.

And while Fourie was subsequently granted permission to explore other options, any club chasing his services were told they would need to pay a transfer fee.

South Africa-born Fourie becomes Sale's 16th new signing ahead of next season, and their fourth from Leeds following Scott Mathie, Kearnan Myall and Luther Burrell.

He joined Leeds from Rotherham in 2007, toured with England to Australia last summer and then made his Test debut as a replacement for Lewis Moody against New Zealand just over six months ago.

"Hendre has been chased and courted by several Premiership clubs, but we are very pleased he has chosen Sale Sharks," said Steve Diamond, Sale's executive director of sport.

"We would like to thank Leeds Carnegie for their help in the transfer of Hendre.

"He is a great addition to our squad, a player whose work ethic is second to none.

"Hendre is a tough individual and he will fit perfectly into our plans and what we are trying to achieve at the Sharks."

Fourie's departure from Headingley follows those of his fellow international forwards Steve Thompson and Marco Wentzel, who have both been captured by Wasps.