South African Ross dumps Stade for Sale
NEWS: Highly-rated South African back-row forward Jono Ross will play English Premiership rugby next season after signing for Sale Sharks from Top 14 outfit Stade Francais on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old, who is eligible to play for England through his grandmother, had been under contract with Stade until 2020 and played in their French title-winning side in 2015.
His move is an abrupt about-turn after indicating in February he would remain at the French club.
However, he decided to cut short his stay in France - he joined Stade in 2014 - and sign on for three years with Sale, adding to the exodus at the Paris-based side.
"I am really looking forward to this career move," he told the Sale website.
"I heard that Steve Diamond [rugby director] was showing interest in me joining the club and I met up with him a few weeks ago.
"I watched the game against Worcester last Friday and was impressed with the bonus point win."
Ross said he felt it was time for a change after a tough season with Stade which has seen him captain them on several occasions.
"I have enjoyed my time at the club and living in Paris has been great, but I needed a new challenge," added Ross, who has previous experience of the top level in England having played for Saracens a couple of times in 2012-13.
"It's not been the easiest of seasons at Stade Francais, but I will be giving it my best in the remaining games to hopefully leave on a high."
Diamond, whose side have had a disappointing season and lie 10th in the Premiership with three games remaining, said he was delighted to have secured a player he termed a "leader".
"Jono is a great signing for us," said Diamond.
"He is a versatile player equally at home at flank and No.8 and is also a leader on the field.
"His ball carrying ability will be a huge asset in the Premiership. Once we knew about his availability we moved quickly to secure his signature."