ITALIAN international Warren Spragg has joined Fylde RFC to boost their squad for the 2012-13 campaign.
Spragg, 29, is returning to Lancashire after six seasons playing as a full-time professional in Italy.
The former Kirkham Grammar School student will be reunited at the Woodlands with two of his previous coaches, Mark Nelson and Brian Gornall.
Nelson coached Spragg at Sale and with Lancashire, while Gornall was his coach at Kirkham.
Spragg has an impressive cv, having won representative honours for England Schools, England Under-20s, Lancashire and England Counties. He qualified to play for Italy as his grandmother was born in that country.
Spragg won a full cap for the Azzuri in 2006 and played for the seven-a-side team the following year.
Spragg has spent the last four seasons with Italian Premiership club Petrarca Padova following two campaigns with Calvisano.
He gained European Cup experience with both clubs.
He made his Premiership debut for Sale Sharks as a 19-year-old in 2002/3 and played a couple of games for Fylde on loan in February 2003, scoring a try against Wharfedale at the Woodlands.
He moved on to Wakefield and had two seasons with Orrell before moving to Italy.
Spragg has played alongside a number of his new team-mates before. With him at Orrell in 2004/5 were Paul Arnold, Alistair Livesey, Chris Briers, Olly Viney, Jonny Roddam and Fylde’s new second XV coach Adam Jackson.
He’s also played with a number of the other first-team squad members in Lancashire colours. Coach Nelson said: “I have been involved coaching Warren from his earliest year as a senior player at Sale, Orrell, Lancashire and England Counties.
“He was one of several players from the England Counties tour to Canada, where I was head coach, to go on to get a full international cap, along with Ben Foden, Dave Strettle and Sean Perry.
“He is a very gifted footballer and a very threatening runner with the ball in hand.
“He is comfortable anywhere in the outfield backs, and will be a great addition to our back division which is brimming with talent.
“His arrival is part of my continuing campaign to persuade talented Lancashire-raised players who have moved elsewhere to return to strengthen the county’s clubs.”
Nelson said that playing would not be Spragg’s only role.
“Warren will also be co-ordinating the fitness programmes for the first XV and acting as a consultant for the other squads in the club at all levels.”
n Former Fylde scrum-half Craig Aikman is leaving Fleetwood.
He has been training at the Woodlands while considering his options for the future.
Apparently, he has not entirely ruled out a move back to Fylde, though Preston Grasshoppers are interested.