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Kieran Brookes decides to leave Northampton

Credit: PA

Northampton have announced that prop Kieran Brookes is to leave Franklin's Gardens at the end of the season.

The England-capped front row, who has never featured under Eddie Jones, has made 66 appearances for Saints since his arrival at the club in 2015 from Newcastle Falcons.

"This is a decision I have not taken lightly. I've thoroughly enjoyed my three years here at Northampton," Brookes said.

Wales international trio sign dual contracts with Scarlets and WRU

Gareth Davies is one of three to have signed dual contracts with Scarlets and WRU Credit: PA

Wales international trio Jonathan Davies, Jake Ball and Gareth Davies have all signed national dual contracts with the Scarlets and Welsh Rugby Union.

The WRU announced that the Scarlets stars have put pen to paper.

Centre Jonathan Davies has taken up a contract option to remain at the Scarlets, lock Ball has signed his second dual contract at the Llanelli-based region and scrum-half Gareth Davies has agreed one for the first time.

National dual contracts are funded 60 per cent by the WRU and 40 per cent by a player's region.

Jonathan Davies and Ball are currently sidelined by injuries, but Gareth Davies was an integral part of Wales' first two NatWest 6 Nations performances against Scotland and England.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips voiced his satisfaction at the news.

This is another significant announcement for Welsh rugby, with three experienced internationals committing their future to the game in Wales and to the Scarlets.

It is testament to the NDCs and the environment we are creating in partnership with the regions that Jake and Jonathan have both signed extensions to their NDCs.

It is vital we retain our best talent for the future of our game on and off the field, and Gareth signing an NDC for the first time is another important commitment.

– Martyn Phillips

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Laidlaw kicks Scotland to victory over France

Laidlaw scored 22 points. Credit: PA

Greig Laidlaw booted 22 points on his return to Scotland's starting line-up as Gregor Townsend's men kick-started their NatWest 6 Nations campaign with a 32-26 win over France.

The home side were under pressure to prove they were genuine contenders after being humiliated by Wales in last week's opener in Cardiff.

And they did just that, with tries from Sean Maitland and Huw Jones providing the perfect response after Teddy Thomas' blistering pace had twice cut them apart.

That left the game finely poised in the second half but Laidlaw - making his first Scotland start in a year - slotted over all eight of his kicks to breathe fresh life into Scottish championship hopes.

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