England's Mark Wilson to join Sale from Newcastle, while James Phillips stays

Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson signed a four-year contract with Newcastle in January

Sale Sharks have signed Newcastle Falcons' England flanker Mark Wilson on loan for next season.

Wilson will link up with the Sharks after the World Cup in Japan, before returning to his boyhood club in time for the 2020-21 season.

The 29-year-old has started nine of England's past 10 Test matches.

"It's not often a current England International becomes available," said Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond. "We jumped at the chance to loan him."

Newcastle boss Dean Richards added: "This has not been an easy decision for Mark because he is very loyal to the Falcons, but at the same time we understand he has to think about his England selection.

"Playing Premiership rugby gives him the best possible chance of maintaining his place in the national squad and, as disappointing as it is to lose a player of his ability for a season, we fully understand Mark's reasoning in reaching this decision."

Meanwhile, second-rower James Phillips, 31, has signed an extended deal, but utility back James O'Connor, 28, is leaving the Premiership club.

O'Connor has been released from his three-year contract to sign a deal with Rugby Australia, allowing him to be selected for the autumn World Cup.

"I will be forever grateful to (director of rugby) Steve Diamond, all the players and coaches, and the Sale Sharks supporters who have all helped facilitate my journey back to full power," said O'Connor.

Ex-Toulon man O'Connor played the last of his 44 Tests in 2013, and made 31 appearances for Sale in two years at the club.

Former Bristol and Exeter Chiefs player Phillips featured 30 times for Diamond's side last season.

He joined from Bath last summer on a two-year deal but Sale have now extended the contract until 2021.

Phillips said: "I have really enjoyed my first year at the club."

"We have made some fantastic signings in the pack for the new season, so I'm looking forward to building on the progress we made last year with the new boys that are coming in."

James Phillips
James Phillips has also played for Bristol, Exeter, London Scottish and Bath