Northampton quartet pen new deals

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Published: Tuesday 23rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Northampton Saints have stemmed a recent player exodus to France by securing Stephen Myler and George Pisi on new Franklin’s Gardens contracts.

The Aviva Premiership champions have suffered the double blow of losing Samu Manoa and Salesi Ma’afu to European and Top 14 champions Toulon, and Myler and Pisi were also subject to interest from France.

The Saints have fended off competition to retain England fly-half Myler and Samoa centre Pisi, however, with backs Tom Stephenson and James Wilson also completing new deals.

Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley rejected overtures from across the Channel, with Hartley tempted by a strong offer from Montpellier before committing his future to Saints.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder admitted relief at tying down two of his backline mainstays in the wake of losing tight-five duo Manoa and Ma’afu for next term.

The new deals also offered Northampton a boost with England hooker Hartley facing a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday evening following his red card for elbowing Leicester’s Matt Smith in Saints’ 23-19 win on Saturday.

“We’re delighted that all four of these players have decided to stay with us and continue their career at the Saints,” said Mallinder.

“They are all quality players who have shown time and again that they have the ability and composure to compete at the highest level of the sport, and they will remain important members of the squad for years to come.”

Former St Helens rugby league star Myler switched codes to join Northampton in 2006 and proved integral to Saints’ title triumph last term.

The 30-year-old’s composed goal-kicking and tactical play proved a feature of Northampton’s run to their first league crown.

Former Auckland Blues and Clermont centre Pisi had drawn widespread interest from France’s top clubs, so Northampton will view his retention as a mini coup.

The 28-year-old has excelled in his four years in the Premiership, with 24 tries in 88 appearances.

England Under-20s Junior World Championship winner Stephenson has risen quickly through the ranks at Saints, featuring in last term’s Premiership final victory.

Utility back Wilson completes Saints’ quartet to confirm new terms, the 31-year-old boasting 58 appearances since his switch from Bourgoin in 2012.

New Zealand centre Glenn Dickson has also left Franklin’s Gardens with immediate effect, Northampton confirmed.

Published: Tuesday 23rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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