Sam Underhill became one of the most recognisable names in English rugby this year when Eddie Jones hinted he could be set for a call-up.
The hype has somewhat settled down since Jones first mentioned his name during an interview, with his Ospreys contract reportedly being a key stumbling block in naming him for the tour of Australia. Premiership clubs were reportedly unhappy that a player plying his trade outside of England was set to make his international bow through the exceptional circumstances rule.
Despite being unable to name him for either the senior side’s tour of Australia, or the Saxons tour of South Africa this summer, Jones is reportedly determined to find a way to bring Underhill into the squad for the Autumn Internationals later this year. This has led to Underhill looking to engineer a move to a Premiership side in a bid to stake his claim for an England spot later this year.
Although Ospreys are reportedly keen to try and hold onto one of their star assets, it is believed that Underhill’s desire to further his England opportunities by moving to the Premiership will stop them standing in his way, in much the same way as the Scarlets allowed Ben Morgan to make a similar move in 2012.
Although there are believed to be no firm offers for the future England star at this stage, reports have indicated that Bristol will look to make a solid offer should they confirm their promotion to the Premiership this week. Other sides who have reportedly shown an interest include Sale Sharks, Wasps and Worcester Warriors, whilst several other sides are believed to be keeping an eye on developments.
Eddie Jones has already indicated that Underhill could be his sides long-term option at openside, and so he is keen to bring him into the squad at the earliest possible opportunity. Such encouragement from the Head Coach is the key driver behind Underhill’s desire to make a move to the Premiership so it may not be too much longer before his signing is announced.