Saints duo extend contracts


Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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England forwards Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes have both signed new contracts with Aviva Premiership champions Northampton.

Saints announced the deals among a raft of seven fresh contracts, with flanker Calum Clark, props Alex Waller, Ethan Waller and Gareth Denman, and lock James Craig also putting pen to paper.

Northampton hooker and captain Hartley, 28, had been linked with a possible move to French club Montpellier after next year’s World Cup, but he will now remain with Saints, the club he joined in 2005.

Hartley has clocked up almost 200 first team appearances and won 61 England caps.

The multiple contract announcement comes just three days before Saints tackle fierce East Midlands rivals Leicester in the Premiership, when Northampton will look to consolidate top spot, currently standing two points above Bath.

“We have a group that has shown time and again that they have the ability to compete at the highest level of club rugby, and retaining players is very important to us,” Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder said.

“The seven forwards that we have announced today are all good players already, but they still have the ability to improve.

“We are looking forward to seeing them develop further at Franklin’s Gardens.”

Hartley is currently Northampton’s longest-serving player, while 27-year-old Lawes made his club debut in 2007 and is now established among the northern hemisphere’s leading second-row forwards, with 36 caps to his name.

Former England Saxons and England Under-20 captain Clark was part of England’s training squad for the autumn Tests this season, and appears firmly on course to be part of their World Cup campaign, while brothers Alex and Ethan Waller are also making considerable strides.

Alex, 24, scored the winning try in last season’s Premiership final against Saracens at Twickenham, and 22-year-old Ethan is closing in on 50 first-team appearances.

Craig, meanwhile, joined Saints in 2011, while Denman is in his second season at Franklin’s Gardens after previously packing down for Championship clubs Leeds – now Yorkshire Carnegie – and Rotherham.

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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