1. ITV Report

Saints coach delighted to have 'matchwinner' North

Wales winger George North, who is joining Northampton Saints in the summer Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder is confident new stellar signing George North will help take the club to the next level.

The Welsh international joins in the summer on a three year contract from Pro12 side Scarlets. He's one of a number of signings already announced by the Saints but Mallinder admits North's arrival is the most anticipated.

"He's high profile, without a doubt, but also he's a world class player," said Mallinder speaking ahead of the Saints' Aviva Premiership game with London Welsh on Sunday (April 14). "You only have to listen to people down in Wales who see him probably every single week, and how they're talking about him, how he can change games.

"And you've got to listen to some of these people because they know their rugby. He's only twenty so he's got a lot of things to work on, and improve. But he's a matchwinner and that's what we want in our squad".

North's transfer was confirmed earlier in the week, but speculation about a move to Franklin's Gardens had been rife for some time.

"We've done well, we've got to some cup finals, very close in the (Premiership) semi-final last season. But I think as a club we want to push on, and I think some of these signings that we're making for next season just shows our intent," Mallinder added.

"He can see a club that is challenging for honours and is moving forward. I've spoken to him, I've met him a number of times, spoken to him a lot, talked about what we're trying to achieve here, what the club's looking to achieve, and he's very very keen on achieving that with us".

Meanwhile Saints fly-half Stephen Myler is looking forward to teaming up with North next season.

"Its obviously a big signing for the club," said Myler, "and he's going to add to the signings that we've already made. Its exciting times coming forward for next season particularly.

"More on the front of my mind at the moment is Sunday and trying to win something this year. But for the future it's great news".

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