SIMON HAMMERSLEY is swapping Newcastle Falcons for Sale Sharks after triggering a relegation release clause in his contract at Kingston Park.

However, Falcons have stepped up their preparations for life in the Championship with the signing of prop Mark Tampin from Ealing Trailfinders.

Hammersley signed a two-year contract extension in January, but the agreement enabled the full-back to move on in the event of relegation.

Sale offered him the opportunity to remain in the Gallagher Premiership, and he has opted to call time on his Falcons career after 103 senior appearances for the club.

“Simon joined us while he was at Durham University, and we have spent a huge amount of time and effort developing him into a quality Premiership player who went on tour with England Saxons,” said a clearly-frustrated Dean Richards.

“We had hoped to keep our squad together, with everyone fighting together to regain our top-flight status. Whilst I understand Simon’s motivation to play at the highest level, it is really disappointing to lose someone of his ability, who we have invested a huge amount of time and effort into.

“Ultimately, that is professional sport, and we thank Simon for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future.”

While Hammersley will not be part of Falcons’ promotion push next season, Tampin’s Championship experience means he could play an influential role in his new club’s acclimatisation to life in the second tier.

The 27-year-old tighthead has signed a two-year deal, having previously played for both Leeds Carnegie and Rotherham Titans.

He played alongside Falcons duo Gary Graham and Sam Lockwood at Jersey Reds, and helped Ealing finish second in the Championship last season.

“I’ve been trying to get to a club like this for a while now and I just want to make it count,” said Tampin. “People know the Falcons had a massive year last year, and even though a bit of luck has been against them this time round they’ve still got everything in place to bounce back.”