Ryan's reputation lures Powell to Gloucester

Gloucester have confirmed the signing of the prop Gary Powell from Leeds on a two-year contract.

The tighthead signed for Leeds from Cardiff last summer and made 20 starts for the Yorkshire side this season. Gloucester's director of rugby Nigel Melville said: "I tried to sign Gary five years ago for Wasps when he was at Llandovery School. He was the outstanding Welsh schoolboy player at the time.

"It's great to finally sign him. Gary is a very talented player and he was, without doubt, the man of the match when Leeds beat us at Headingley earlier this season. I'm sure he's going to enjoy the environment down here at Gloucester and we're looking forward to welcoming him."

Powell said: "It's a massive move for me. I was on the bench for Leeds earlier in the season and the atmosphere at Gloucester was superb. It is something you certainly want on your side."

The 24-year-old is looking forward to working with Gloucester coach Dean Ryan and added: "I've spoken to a few of the former Bristol players at Leeds and they have so much respect for Dean.

"He's a hard taskmaster and gets results, and I can't wait to meet up with them all. Leeds gave me an opportunity last summer and it's been a great year. I've made a good number of starts over the last eight months, and when you're playing regularly you enjoy your rugby."

Sale have signed Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe from Castres and the Beziers hooker Sebastien Bruno. Lobbe, who plays at lock or No 8, has won 45 caps for Argentina while Bruno played once for France in the 2002 Six Nations' Championship, against Wales.

In South Africa, the Natal Sharks fly-half Butch James has been ruled out for at least six months with a knee injury.

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