@@@@SPAN id=intelliTXT>London Irish look poised to make a major swoop in the transfer market by signing England scrum-half Peter Richards.
Richards, currently with Gloucester, appears on the verge of agreeing a deal with Irish that would see him rejoin his first professional club.
The 28-year-old has won six England caps, including four appearances during this season's November Test series, but he is now third in the Test pecking order behind Harry Ellis and Shaun Perry.
Richards played for Irish in 1996 before moving on to Harlequins, Bristol, Wasps and latterly Gloucester, where his career has flourished under the coaching expertise of former Scotland scrum-half Bryan Redpath.
Gloucester though, also have Scotland number nine Rory Lawson on their books, and if Richards departs Kingsholm, it is thought they could move for Newport Gwent Dragons' ex-Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper as a replacement.
Cooper, a member of the 2005 British and Irish Lions squad that toured New Zealand, boasts 32 caps but has only recently returned to action after suffering a dislocated shoulder during last season's Six Nations Championship clash against England. @@@@/SPAN>
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