Harlequins turn to Vos as doubts grow over Wilson

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The Independent Online

Andre Vos, the former Springbok captain, has agreed a three and-a-half-year deal with Harlequins – a development that appears to rule out any return to London by another top-notch southern hemisphere loose forward, David Wilson of Australia. Wilson has not played since undergoing reconstructive surgery on the knee he wrecked while leading Quins in last season's European Shield final. And the 35-year-old Queenslander's prospects of returning to the field diminish by the day.

Vos, who has played in all three back-row positions for South Africa, retired from international rugby after last winter's European tour and had been tentatively linked with Bath and Leeds as well as Quins. He will move to The Stoop in October, by which time Steve White-Cooper, the utility forward capped by England in North America a year ago, will have departed for business reasons.

Nick Walsh, the England A scrum-half, is also on the move having decided to quit Saracens for Sale. A competent goal-kicker who can do a turn at outside-half, he will provide back up for Bryan Redpath and Charlie Hodgson. "We were always concerned about what might happen if Charlie suffered an injury that kept him sidelined for any length of time,'' Jim Mallinder, the Sale coach, said yesterday. "The lack of cover has forced us to play him more often than we might have done. We've had to ask a lot of a young player.''

Meanwhile, the exciting young Northampton prop, Robbie Morris, is likely to break into the England squad for the forthcoming match against the Barbarians, and may feature in Clive Woodward's party for next month's visit to Argentina. Morris, 20 last February has started a number of important games recently and impressed in Sunday's victory over Newcastle at Franklin's Gardens.

Phil Vickery of Gloucester will travel as the senior tight head – he will captain the side in the absence of Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio – with Bristol's Julian White as his understudy. A third Test-quality tight head would be of inestimable value to Woodward as he plans for next year's World Cup.

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