Rob Vickerman will join the England Sevens set-up from Newcastle Falcons next season.
The centre has signed a two-year deal to become a full-time member of head coach Ben Ryan’s squad.
Vickerman, 25, appeared in more than 50 Aviva Premiership matches for the Falcons and Leeds Carnegie. He made his sevens debut for England in 2005 and was part of the side that won the Wellington and London titles in 2009.
The current England squad – including eight full-time sevens players for the first time this season – are preparing for this weekend’s Emirates Airline London Sevens where they will continue their chase for a first-ever HSBC Sevens World Series title.
Vickerman said: “The opportunity to be a full time sevens player fills me with excitement and it means I can fully commit to the HSBC Sevens World Series and spend all year developing my skills and fitness purely for sevens.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed playing for Leeds and Newcastle and am proud about making 50 Aviva Premiership appearances, but the chance to focus on playing in a top England Sevens team is too good to miss.
“I back sevens to develop into a truly global game and inclusion in the Olympics from 2016 will see the sport rocket. I want to be part of that and part of a consistently successful England team driving the standards.”
England Sevens head coach Ryan said: “Rob was my England Sevens player of the season in 2009 and provided the glue that allowed everyone else to operate. His game sense, professionalism, skills and work ethic make him the perfect first signing for next year’s squad.”
You can watch England Sevens in action and join the beach party on May 21 and 22 at Twickenham Stadium in the Emirates Airline London Sevens, the penultimate leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Tickets are available from £15 via rfu.com