SCOTLAND AND Glasgow flanker is to follow in the same footsteps as teammate Max Evans – who is to join Castres, in moving south in search of a fresh start. He is the latest high-profile player to sign up for Steve Diamond’s ongoing Sale revolution.
Vernon – who came off the bench as a replacement for Scotland at Twickenham in Sunday’s Calcutta Cup clash with England – has penned a two-year deal and will arrive at Edgeley Park in the summer. The Glasgow Warriors flanker – who offers the versatility of also being able to play at number eight – has been capped by Scotland at all levels, including Sevens. Vernon, who is arguably Scotland’s most athletic and skilful forward, stands at 6ft 5ins and weighs 16st 7lbs and at 23 his best years are still ahead of him.
If Sale fans are looking for any encouraging omens, Vernon will be following in the illustrious footsteps of fellow former Glasgow Warriors player Jason White who also took the high road south to join Sale back in 2003 and who went on to become one of the most destructive back-row players in world rugby.
The Scots’ capture maintains a hectic period which has seen a flurry of transfer activity at Edgeley Park. And Sharks executive director of sport Diamond admitted he was delighted to secured yet another key addition to his new-look squad. “I am delighted that Richie is joining us. He is part of the current Scotland squad and played very well when he came on in the Calcutta Cup game at the weekend, he is a hard working flanker or number 8 and he will fit in very well with my plans for next season and beyond.”
For his part, Vernon couldn’t disguise his excitement at his summer move across the border. “Steve Diamond is very clear on the way forward for Sale Sharks and I am delighted to commit myself to the club for the next two seasons,” said Vernon. “Having broken into the Scotland side I see playing in the Aviva Premiership as a challenge that will only improve me as a player.”