Euan Murray has agreed a move to France as he looks to secure a spot on a second successive Lions tour.
The Scotland prop is joining Top 14 outfit Agen on a short-term deal following Newcastle’s relegation from the Aviva Premiership.
Murraywill play the first three months of the season on loan at Agen before returning to Newcastle sometime in November.
The 32–year-old has convinced his employers that a temporary move south will benefit them both as he looks to test himself in arguably the world’s toughest scrummaging league before helping to ensure the Falcons win immediate promotion from the RFU Championship.
"It is a great opportunity for Euan to continue playing at the highest level and will keep him in the frame for Scotland whilst still being available for Newcastle Falcons from the middle of November," said Newcastle chief executive David Bell.
Injury to Gert Muller has prompted Agen to offer Murray a chance to prove himself in the Top 14 and the South African’s misfortune could have a significant impact on his chances of being involved with the Lions next summer.
Murrayimpressed for Britain and Ireland’s elite three years ago before suffering a serious knee injury against the Southern Kings in the final warm-up match before the first international with the Springboks.
That setback robbed Murray of the possibility of a Test cap but a strong season could reignite that dream this time around, especially as Agen have stated that the loan deal could yet extended into the New Year.
To push for a Lions place while playing the entire season out of the spotlight in England’s second tier would be a big ask so a spell in France could be exactly what the 47-cap tight head needs to remind the selectors exactly what he is capable off.