James, capped 41 times, will leave the Celtic Warriors for atwo-year deal with Quins and joins the alarming exodus of top class players out ofthe Principality since thye season finished. The 28-year-old featured in all three test matches for the Britishand Irish Lions during their 2001 tour of Australia, having made hisWales debut against the Wallabies in 1996.
James joins Wales's record try scorer Gareth Thomas and fly-halfStephen Jones, who signed for French clubs Toulouse and Montferrandrespectively.
Ireland international Jeremy Staunton will join James at The Stoopnext season. The fly half, who can play at full back, is also on atwo-year contract after leaving Munster.
Tight head prop Maurice Fitzgerald moves from French side Biarritzand 22-year-old winger Joe Mbu has joined from Bath. "We are delighted to welcome this group of players to theStoop," said Harlequins Chief Executive Mark Evans. "They range from the experienced international in the form ofDafydd James, through to the exciting potential of Joe Mbu, as we look forward toplanning what we hope will be another successful season, including our returnto the
Quins are expecting to sign three futher players during thepre-season. As well as retiring England legend Jason Leonard, Bill Davison,Rob Jewell, Matt Moore, Scott Bemand, Ben Willis Laurent Gomez, Pat Sanderson,Paul Burke and Chris Bell are leaving the club.
England Rugby Limited (ERL) confirmed yesterday that Worcester will definitely play in thePremiership next season. Rotherham will be replaced by the National League One champions,following the relegated side's threat of a legal challenge.
Worcester's promotion was ratified by the ERL board after ameeting Tuesday. The Midlands side met all the critiera for Premiership entry.
A final decision had been delayed while ERL sought advicefollowing Rotherham's threat. Worcester failed to meet a March 31st deadline for satisfyingPremiership criteria, Rotherham claimed.
But ambitious Worcester, who are backed by multi-millionaire Cecil Duckworth, can now look forward to rubbing shoulders with the Englishelite.
They had already stated their intent to not repeat Rotherham'srelative lack of ambition and desperate season where they failed to win amatch by signing experienced French international centre Thomas Lombard onMonday.
AFP - 2004.