Sam Underhill will be eligible for England selection later this year after agreeing a move to Aviva Premiership club Bath.
Bath have confirmed that 20-year-old flanker Underhill will join them on a three-year deal from Welsh region Ospreys at the end of this season.
The Rugby Football Union currently has a strict selection policy that means players plying their trade outside England are not considered for international duty, unless exceptional circumstances apply.
The former Gloucester forward’s move to the west country could now mean he is under serious consideration for England’s two-Test tour of Argentina in June.
Underhill is a former England Under-18s captain and rated among the most exciting young back-row players in Britain and Ireland.
He has more than a year left of his Ospreys contract, and it is understood that Bath have paid a transfer fee to secure his services.
The PRO12 leaders also released a statement in which they confirmed that Bath had “reached an agreement” with them for Underhill’s services.
Ospreys managing director Andrew Millward said: “Sam has been straight down the line about his international loyalties since day one, and his performances in an Ospreys shirt last season clearly put him in the spotlight as far as England goes.
“He has certainly thrived in our environment, where the focus is on development, allowing him to show his undoubted potential to a wider audience.
“While totally understanding his wish to give himself the best chance of pursuing his England ambitions, our priority has always been to ensure that, whatever the outcome, the best interests of Ospreys Rugby were front and centre at all times.
“We have been able to reach agreement on the final year of Sam’s contract, and he will head to Bath in the summer with our best wishes.”
Underhill rose to prominence with a number of outstanding displays for Ospreys, and he has quickly rediscovered top form since returning to action from a shoulder injury earlier this term.
“I am really excited to be moving to Bath,” Underhill told the Premiership club’s website.
“There is a brilliant environment at the club and some very talented players, both of which were a huge incentive in joining for me.
“They have a world-class coaching set-up, who I know will help me develop into the best player I can possibly be.
“I’ve enjoyed a really good couple of seasons at Ospreys, and would like to thank everyone who has helped make this move possible, and the fantastic support I’ve received throughout my time in south Wales.”
Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder said: “We are really looking forward to Sam joining us.
“We’ve got a really strong contingent of back-rows in the squad, and Sam’s addition will boost that even further.
“He is a very talented young player, and we can’t wait to see him develop even more over the coming seasons.”
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Underhill in England contention after Bath switch
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