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Bristol star snapped up by Saints

New Northampton signing Tom Kessell Credit: CornishPirates.com

Northampton Saints have announced the signing of former Cornish Pirates scrum-half Tom Kessell.

The 25-year-old will join Saints in time for next season after completing a short-term stint with the Pirates' Championship rivals Bristol.

Kessell was part of the Championship XV that beat Canada earlier this season, while he has also represented England Counties.

Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder said:

"Tom has shown great promise in the Championship, and has had his performances recognised with selection for the team that played Canada last year.

We believe that he has the potential to perform in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe, and we are looking forward to seeing him develop at Franklin's Gardens."

– Jim Mallinder, Northampton Saints

Saints captain Hartley banned for 3 weeks

The Rugby Football Union has handed Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley a three week suspension for an elbow thrown at an opponent during the weekend's clash with Leicester Tigers.

Hartley leaves the field after Saturday's red card Credit: PA

Hartley was sent off in the Aviva Premiership match between Saints and Leicester Tigers for striking Matt Smith with his elbow. The Northampton Saints hooker pleaded guilty and the case was heard via conference call by Jeremy Summers, sitting as a sole Judicial Officer.

“The sanction reflects the low end entry point of the offence, which carries a two-week tariff. The entry point was aggravated having regard to Dylan’s previous record and a week was taken off to reflect mitigating circumstances. As such the sanction reflects the player’s record rather than the seriousness of the offence itself.”

– Jeremy Summers, RFU

Hartley is banned until January 11, 2015. The decision means he wil miss Saints' next three Premiership matches, but will be available for England selection for the start of the Six Nations Championship in February.

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Saints trio named in England Rugby squad

Dylan Hartley Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Northampton Saints stars Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes have been named in the England Rugby squad to face Australia this weekend.

The trio will line up alongside Norfolk's Ben Youngs as Coach Stuart Lancaster names an unchanged squad for the final Autumn international.

Stuart Lancaster Credit: PA

“It was great to get the win last week and the whole 23 did well so we want to give those guys another chance against an Australian team who will want to finish their season on a high.

“We’ve had great support at Twickenham over the last three games and we are determined to give the fans something to shout about this weekend.”

– Stuart Lancaster, England Coach

England squad to face Australia Forwards (13) Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby) Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons) Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) James Haskell (Wasps) George Kruis (Saracens) Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) Joe Marler (Harlequins) Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) Matt Mullan (Wasps) Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain) Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) David Wilson (Bath Rugby) Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs (10) Brad Barritt (Saracens) Mike Brown (Harlequins) Owen Farrell (Saracens) George Ford (Bath Rugby) Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby) Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens) Marland Yarde (Harlequins) Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Saints make changes for weekend clash with Irish

After a third bonus point win in their opening four games, Northampton Saints hit the road once more for the Aviva Premiership trip to London Irish tomorrow.

Saints have made four changes to the side that dug deep to beat Bath last weekend at Franklin's Gardens.

Lee Dickson returns at scrum-half. Among the forwards, Alex Waller, Mike Haywood and Courtney Lawes are in for Alex Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley and Christian Day.

London Irish have made just one change, Tomas O'Leary the new face at scrum-half and Darren Allinson taking his place on the bench.

Driver killed in Porsche-Audi crash named as Luton rugby player

Flowers by the roadside on the A6 near Bedford where the crash happened. Credit: Stuart Leithes / ITV News Anglia

The man killed on the A6 near Bedford when the Audi he was driving was hit by a Porsche that did not stop has been named as a Luton rugby player.

Mark Davey, 33, was on his way back from a match against Bedford Swifts when the crash happened at ten to six on Saturday evening. He was confirmed dead at Bedford Hospital South Wing.

The driver of the Porsche did not stop and carried on driving north towards Bedford along the A6. Officers are appealing to the public to help trace this person and the vehicle.

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Draw made for rugby's European Champions Cup

Northampton Saints have been drawn in Pool 5 for the European Rugby Champions Cup.

They'll play Racing Metro, Ospreys and Treviso. Last season's beaten finalists Saracens will tae on Munster, Sale Sharks and Clermont Auvergne.

Local rivals Leicester Tigers have been drawn with Scarlets, Ulster and reigning champions Toulon.

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