Northampton Saints has confirmed that Dan Biggar has signed a contract to join the club next summer.
The fly half has been one of the Northern Hemisphere’s stand-out performers in recent years, having made 56 appearances for Wales, 203 for the Ospreys and toured with the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand earlier this summer, during which he played in five of the 10 matches.
The 27-year-old has been Wales’s starting fly half for the majority of the past four years, winning the 2013 Six Nations title and being the man of the match in Wales’s memorable Rugby World Cup win over England in 2015, a game in which he kicked 23 points.
At club level Biggar was the youngest player to pass the 200-appearance mark for the Ospreys, a feat he achieved last season. To date he has scored over 2,000 points for the region, earning a reputation as one of the league’s most accurate marksmen in the process.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Biggar’s signing is a big statement of intent about the Saints’ ambitions over coming seasons.
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Dylan Hartley has been re-appointed as captain of Northampton Saints for a second time.
It comes as the 31 year old signs a new contract at Franklin's Gardens.
His old deal had been due to expire at the end of next season.
The hooker has made more than 200 appearances for Saints since joining them from Worcester Warriors in 2006.
Last season, fellow England international Tom Wood skippered the side as Saints finished seventh in England's top flight.
Hartley has led England to successive Six Nations titles under head coach Eddie Jones.
The decision to offer Dylan the captaincy is no reflection on how Tom Wood led the team last season. Tom is an outstanding leader himself who is fully committed in training and in games each and every week, and he will remain an important part of the leadership group. But we felt that Dylan is in the right place both personally and professionally to be our captain once again.
We’re also delighted that he has signed a new contract to stay at Franklin’s Gardens. Dylan has been one of the best hookers in Europe for several years and is hugely committed to the Saints.
The Aviva Premiership fixtures have been released and Northampton Saints will open their campaign at the home of English Rugby.
They'll be part of a double header as they take on European champions Saracens will face Northampton while London Irish will play Harlequins at Twickenham on the opening weekend.
The first home match will be against derby rivals Leicester, and fans can look forward to a home game just before Christmas with a game against champions Exeter.
Northampton Saints' George North has been ruled out of the rest of the British and Irish Lions tour.
The winger suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday's 31-31 draw with the Hurricanes.
North will return home this weekend for further treatment, along with teammate Robbie Henshaw, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle.
George North has been left out of the British and Irish Lions squad for Saturday's first Test against New Zealand.
The Northampton Saints star had been widely expected to start on the wing against the All Blacks, but Warren Gatland has opted for Wasps' Elliot Daly instead.
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Saints teammate Courtney Lawes will also have to settle for a watching brief, while the team will be captained by Ireland's Peter O'Mahoney.
Northampton Saints' fate has been decided for next season's European Champions Cup.
The Saints have been placed in Pool Two and face tough opponents, including reigning champions Saracens and last year's runner's up Clermont Auvergne.
The opening round of the competition starts in October.
Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder says it's a chance for his side to test themselves against the other top teams.
If you want to be in the Champions Cup you’ve got to be prepared to play tough teams and this is what we will have to do,” Mallinder says.
It’s a challenging draw and we know that we’ll have to play at our very best if we are to progress from it. Saracens and Clermont were this year’s Champions Cup finalists and are two of the best teams in Europe, and the Ospreys have plenty of international players, too.
But it is a draw that we can be excited about, because we want to test ourselves against the other top team, and we believe we’ve got a squad that can compete next season.
- Blues 22-16 British and Irish Lions
Northampton Saints forward Courtney Lawes enjoyed an impressive debut for the British and Irish Lions, but couldn't prevent them from losing to the Blues in Auckland.
A late Ihaia West try condemned the Lions to their first defeat of this summer's New Zealand tour as they fell way short of their best at Eden Park.
Warren Gatland's side had looked on course to scrape a narrow victory courtesy of Leigh Halfpenny's boot, but West crossed the line with just five minutes remaining to win the match for the Super Rugby side.
Lawes was one of the players to emerge with plaudits though thanks to a series of bone-crunching tackles and his partnership with England colleague Maro Itoje in the second row.
The loss will come as a big blow to the Lions who were up against a Blues team who are currently bottom of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.
They will face another step up in class on Saturday when they face the unbeaten Crusaders in Christchurch.