Leeds sign England World Cup winner

England World Cup winner Andy Gomarsall admitted his love of playing in the Guinness Premiership was a major factor in deciding to join Leeds Carnegie as the Yorkshire side look to establish themselves in the top flight of English club rugby.

Gomarsall, who started at scrum half for England in the World Cup Final in 2007 in France, was unveiled today as Leeds Carnegie’s seventh new signing of the summer and will go straight into action this Saturday at the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham.

He will then be involved Leeds Carnegie’s final pre-season game against the Ospreys on Saturday 22nd August, kick off 2.30pm before they make their return to the top flight on Sunday 6th September against Newcastle Falcons at Headingley Carnegie.

Gomarsall, who has been capped 35 times for England, played with Harlequins last season but will be reunited with his former international team mate Neil Back, his new Head Coach at Leeds Carnegie, for the new campaign.

Durham-born Gomarsall began his career with London Wasps before spending time at Bedford, Gloucester, Worcester and latterly Harlequins from 2006, winning caps at Wasps, Gloucester and Quins.

He admits the decision to remain in the Guinness Premiership was key for him, “I spoke to a lot of people who have been mentors for me during my career and they all told me that you are a long time retired. I have turned 35 this summer but I have had some time off since finishing with Quins and I feel refreshed and looking forward to the new season.”

“I love playing in the Guinness Premiership, it gets better every year with the increasing interest in the game. Last year the games at Twickenham and Stade de France with Quins were incredible experiences and it shows the growing support for the game.

“Hopefully we can attract the crowds to Headingley Carnegie next year and give the fans a team that they can be proud of. Leeds have got a lot of young, talented players and I am looking forward to working with them. I made a promise to myself early in my career that if ever I had the opportunity help younger players then I would because that was not always the case for me.

“I know that Andy Key and Neil Back have got a great vision for the club and the infrastructure here is first class so everything is in place for us to be successful and hopefully that will be the case once the season starts,” added the 35-year-old.

Commenting on his signing Director of Rugby Andy Key said, “Andy is a player with a proven track record of success. He has experience of performing at the very highest level and that will make him a key addition to our squad. We have worked hard to bring Andy to Leeds Carnegie and we would like to thank everyone involved in the process.

“We now have strength in depth in the scrum half position with Joe Bedford and Scott Mathie already at the club and Dan White coming through the Academy system.

“We know it was a big decision for Andy, especially as he has a young family who live down in London but he is thoroughly committed to helping Leeds Carnegie this season and he will be a key addition to our squad.

“Our preparations are going well for the new season. We had a great week in France last week when the players showed the benefit of the hard work they have been doing in training and we can really begin to focus on our opening game against Newcastle at home on 6th September,” added Key.

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