Austin Healey, the Leicester Tigers player, could be about to switch life at Welford Road for Butts Park Arena.

The ex-England international is in talks with Coventry Rugby Club with a view to playing for the side in National One next season.

Mike Umaga, the Coventry head coach, confirmed yesterday that talks with Healey were at an advanced stage.

"We had lunch with Austin on Wednesday, and it was a positive meeting," he said. "Opportunities like this don't come along very often, so when we became aware of Austin's availability we were obviously very interested.

"He has talked to Leicester, and they are aware of the situation. We are just waiting to see what he can offer us alongside his other commitments."

As well as a wealth of international experience, Healey also brings an ability to play in several different positions, namely on the wing, in the centres, or at scrum-half.

Umaga though already knows were he wants Healey to play.

"We talked to Austin and talked about where he would best help the club," said Umaga. "We want a playmaker and we both decided that fly-half was the best position for him to operate from."

Healey's signing is part of Coventry's plan to make a concerted push for promotion to the Guinness Premiership.

With many in the game expecting the top-flight to be ring fenced in a couple of years, Umaga believes clubs in National One have two choices. Either become a feeder club for the Premiership, or fight for promotion.

The Butts Park club appear to have opted for the latter.

"Next year clubs will have to chose what they want to be," said Umaga. "We have ambitions to be in the top flight, and we're looking to build a squad to take us into the Premiership.

"I think after the next two seasons clubs in National One will have to become feeder clubs. It just depends how we want to use the situation.

"We want to play in the top-flight, and bringing in some experience is key to that."

With that in mind, Coventry have already secured the services of hooker Richard Protheroe on a new contract.

"We're quite pleased that someone of Richard's experience has decided to stay with us. He's a core member who we can build a squad around."