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Northampton Saints winger Paul Diggin to retire at the end of the season

Paul Diggin will retire at the end of the season. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints winger Paul Diggin will retire from top flight rugby at the end of the season, the club have announced.

The 29-year-old will concentrate on his role as a coach with the Saints' academy.

“I could not have asked for more from my playing career,” he told the club's official website.

“I’ve played in a Heineken Cup final, helped my team win at Twickenham and have collected a number of winner's medals.

“But time has to move on and I’m delighted to be a part of the academy coaching team.

"We’ve got some exciting talent coming through, and hopefully I can help them develop as players and know what it means to play for the Saints."


Local club welcomes rugby legend

Sir Ian with Peter Barry, club president, left, and Josh Wright, First team captain Credit: Archant

Sir Ian McGeechan was guest speaker at Wymondham RFC's annual players' dinner in Norfolk.

Sir Ian won 32 caps for Scotland, coached three tours of the British and Irish Lions, and has served as director of rugby to Scotland, Northampton Saints, Wasps and Bath.

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley beats teammate George North to Premiership award

Dylan Hartley is currently with England. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley has been named the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for January.

The 27-year-old, who's currently on international duty with England, beat his Saints teammate George North to the accolade.

Bath youngster Anthony Watson, Saracens pair David Strettle and Alex Goode, and Gloucester winger Jonny May were also shortlisted.

Northampton Saints stars keep their places for Scotland showdown but Ben Youngs misses out again

Luther Burrell scored on his debut against France. Credit: PA

A number of Northampton Saints stars have once again been included in England's starting line-up to face Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations this weekend, as Stuart Lancaster's men look to avenge the opening round defeat to France.

England looked to be heading towards a hard-fought victory in Paris, but a last-gasp Gael Fickou try ensured that they left empty handed.

Saints centre Luther Burrell impressed on his debut in the showdown, scoring a debut try, and he will once again partner Gloucester man Billy Twelvetrees in midfield.

Ben Youngs has been overlooked again. Credit: PA

Fellow Northampton players Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood are also named in a unchanged line-up, while scrum-half Lee Dickson is among the replacements at Murrayfield.

Norfolk-born hooker Tom Youngs misses out to Hartley in the front row, but will be on the bench.

However, brother Ben has once again missed out on making the squad, after being overlooked by Lancaster.

England team to face Scotland:

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Jonny May (Gloucester), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Danny Care (Harlequins)

Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, Capt), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Northampton Saints capture Samoan international Fa’atoina Autagavaia

Fa’atoina Autagavaia has joined Northampton Saints. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints have signed Samoan full back Fa’atoina Autagavaia as cover for injured pair Ben Foden and James Wilson.

The 25-year-old has been allowed to join the Saints under the injury dispensation rule and will bring crucial international experience having amassed eight caps for his country.

Speaking to the club's offical webiste, Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder said that the arrival of Autagavaia will provide a welcome boost for his squad.

“Fa'atoina has shown over the past 18 months that he has the ability to succeed at international level."

"We are confident that he'll be able to fit in, especially alongside the Pisi brothers and Kahn Fotuali'i."

“With Ben Foden and James Wilson both out of action we’re a bit light at full back, so Fa’atoina will add to our strength in depth in what is a crucial position.”


Northampton Saints star George North vows to continue Welsh career

George North celebrates scoring against Australia. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints winger George North says that he still intends to play in every Welsh International fixture, despite his club being hit with a £60,000 fine for allowing him to feature in a Test against Australia last month.

Saints were handed the punishment yesterday by a Premiership Rugby disciplinary panel because the match fell outside the International Rugby Board's designated Test window.

However, North has a clause in his contract which allows him to play in every Welsh International, and the 21-year-old is still keen to represent his country whenever possible:

"Whenever I get the chance to pull the jersey on it is a massive honour and if they say, 'George, we want you to play', then obviously I'm going to play," he told several national newspapers.

"Thank goodness the Saints are so understanding with me and allow me to pursue my international career.

"I have the utmost respect for the club and I back them 100 per cent for giving me this opportunity to pursue my Welsh career but also to play top rugby week to week.

"I came to the club because I wanted to improve myself as a player and I've enjoyed every second of it."

Northampton Saints hit with £60,000 fine for George North Wales appearance

George North was released by Northampton Saints to play for Wales. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints have been fined £60,000 by a Premiership Rugby disciplinary panel for allowing star winger George North to play for Wales against Australia last month.

The fixture fell outside the International Rugby Board's designated Test window, meaning that North shouldn't have been released by his club.

George North crosses the line for Wales against Australia. Credit: PA

However, the 21-year-old has a clause in his Saints contract which permits him to feature in all Wales Test matches.

Northampton admitted the breach and will not appeal the sanction.

England star Tom Wood among five Saints to commit to club

Tom Wood has agreed a new deal. Credit: PA

England star Tom Wood has agreed a new contract with Northampton Saints, the club has announced.

The flanker is one of five forward to have penned new deals at Franklin's Gardens.

Christian Day is staying at Franklin's Gardens. Credit: PA

Lock Christian Day, back-rowers Sam Dickinson and Ben Nutley, and hooker Mike Haywood have also signed fresh terms.

Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder says that the new deals will send out a statement of intent to other Aviva Premiership sides:

“We’re delighted that all five players have signed new contracts with us.

“They have all grown and developed in their time with us and have put in plenty of hard work on and off the field.

“Our aim is to have as good a squad as we possibly can, and this starts with making sure we re-sign the quality players we have here already.

“It is a big statement for both the club and the players that these agreements have been done so early.”

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