Balshaw on verge of Biarritz move

Iain Balshaw looks set to become the latest England international who will ply his trade in French club rugby next season.

The Gloucester wing, who has 35 caps, is believed to have agreed a two-year contract with Biarritz.

Confirmation of the move would see 30-year-old Balshaw join an English exodus which includes Wasps trio James Haskell, Riki Flutey and Tom Palmer, while Newcastle centre Jamie Noon and Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry have both been linked with Flutey’s new club Brive.

Elsewhere, Noon’s Newcastle colleague Jonny Wilkinson remains on course for a big-money switch to Toulon, whose captures for next season already include Falcons fly-half Tom May, Bristol captain Joe El Abd and Saracens forward Kris Chesney.

Balshaw, it is understood, will not be only the high-profile player leaving Gloucester after their season ended with a 34-3 defeat against Wasps on Saturday.

Olly Barkley’s return to his former club Bath could be confirmed today, with ex-England centre Anthony Allen poised to join Leicester and fly-half Ryan Lamb reportedly on his way to London Irish.

Barkley left Bath for Gloucester last year, but he has failed to make a significant impact at Kingsholm.

And his Recreation Ground return would be a timely one, given Bath have lost their South African fly-half Butch James probably for the rest of 2009 due to a serious knee injury.

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