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  1. Anglia

Leon Barnett: Northampton Town snap up defender

Leon Barnett has moved to Sixfields. Credit: PA

Northampton Town have signed former Norwich City defender Leon Barnett on a two-year deal.

The 31-year-old will move to Sixfields on a free transfer when his contract expires at fellow League One club Bury on July 1.

Centre-back Barnett has previously played in the Premier League for Norwich and West Brom, and started his professional career at Luton Town.

Leon is a dominant, leader type centre half who puts his body on the line.

He has played a lot of his football in the top two tiers with a fair amount of success and he has a lot of quality.

Leon has three promotions from the Championship to the Premier League on his CV and we believe the qualities he has will be a big help to the squad.

He is another good character, he is a winner, he is mobile, aggressive, big and brave and I think he will fit in well.

– Justin Edinburgh, Northampton Town manager

Elsewhere, Southend United have announced that winger Will Atkinson will join League Two club Mansfield Town after he rejected a new deal at Roots Hall while Colchester United striker Chris Porter has joined Crewe Alexandra on a two-year contract.

Meanwhile, former Gillingham midfielder Emmanuel Osadebe has moved to Cambridge United.

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  1. Anglia

Saints march into Europe after thriller at the Gardens

Ahsee Tuala scored the winning try for Saints Credit: PA Images

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder praised his team's powers of recovery to secure the final spot for next season's European Champions Cup.

Second half tries from Ben Foden and Ashee Tuala - the latter with the Saints down to thirteen men - helped them overturn a sixteen point deficit against Stade Francais to win 23-22.

The European Challenge Cup winners from Paris looked destined to snatch last night's play-off at Franklin's Gardens when Saints' skipper Tom Wood was dismissed.

Moments after Rory Hutchinson had been sinbinned, referee John Lacey ruled that Wood made contact with the head of Stade full back Djibril Camara in a ruck midway through the second half.

The decision incensed the home fans and their reaction seemed to inspire the Saints. Tuala's touchdown in the corner was followed by Harry Mallinder's conversion from the left hand touchline.

And despite their player advantage Stade Francais couldn't add to the points they scored before half time, including three tries.

Here's Jim Mallinder talking to ITV Angli's Donovan Blake after the game:

And Ben Foden:

Northampton Saints secure place in the Champions Cup

The Northampton Saints have secured their place in the Champions Cup. Credit: ITV News Central

The Northampton Saints have secured their place in the Champions Cup with a dramatic win against Stade Francais at Franklins Gardens.

They won the play-off final with a last minute try.

23 - 22 was the final score, meaning Saints will compete in the top flight of European rugby for a ninth successive season.

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