Scotland prop Geoff Cross to move to London Irish

EDINBURGH prop Geoff Cross is understood to be joining a clutch of Scottish internationalists heading to the Aviva Premiership.

Geoff Cross training with Glasgow Warriors. Pic: SNS/SRU

Greig Laidlaw confirmed his move to Gloucester earlier this month and The Scotsman revealed that Cross, flanker Ross Rennie, Nick de Luca, the centre, and Glasgow stand-off Ruaridh Jackson have not been offered new contracts. Cross, it is understood, has agreed terms with London Irish.

The 31-year-old came through the Galashiels Academy school in the Borders and joined Heriot’s at the same time as beginning medical studies at Edinburgh University. The tighthead prop continued his studies while signing professional forms with the Borders in 2003, made his mark in a rare Scotland under-21 win over England and then joined Edinburgh on loan in 2006-7.

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When the Borders were shut down by the SRU in 2007, he joined the Murrayfield outfit permanently and has made 130 appearances to date. He was called up to the Scotland squad that beat Argentina in 2008 and made his full Test debut against Wales in the 2009 RBS Six Nations Championship at Murrayfield. He won his 28th cap against the Welsh in the Millennium Stadium last weekend.

London Irish are tenth in the Aviva Premiership, though 20 points clear of bottom-placed Worcester and so virtually safe from relegation. Neither London Irish nor Edinburgh would confirm Cross’ signing, but Irish head coach Brian Smith said: “We’re going to keep trying to build that pack and the strength in depth, and we want more steel in the pack.”

Bristol are keen to retain the services of on-loan flanker Rennie as Andy Robinson bids to lead them back to the Premiership, and De Luca and Jackson are both understood to be in talks with English and French clubs over moves this summer.