Northampton Saints has today announced new contracts with four of the club’s backs.
Leading the way is Stephen Myler. A one-club man throughout his time in rugby union, Myler will go down as one of the most successful rugby league converts, not least because he is rare in becoming one of the highest rated playmakers within the Aviva Premiership. With Myler at the helm the Saints have won four major trophies – the 2014 Aviva Premiership and Challenge Cup titles (in which Myler won the man of the match award in both finals), 2010 LV= Cup and 2009 Challenge Cup – and reached the 2013 Aviva Premiership and 2011 Heineken Cup finals. The 30-year-old is within touching distance of becoming just the second Saint to reach 2,000 points in the 135-year history of the club, and has 241 first team appearances to his name.
Samoan centre George Pisi has also ended speculation about his own future by putting pen to paper on a new contract to stay at Franklin’s Gardens. The 28-year-old is in his fourth season in the East Midlands, and with his pace and power on the pitch matched by his broad smile and affability off it, he has become a firm favourite with the Saints supporters. Pisi has played 88 times for the club’s first team, scoring 24 tries.
Another centre, Tom Stephenson, has also committed himself to continuing his development in black, green and gold. Still in the early years of his career, the 20-year-old has nevertheless already experienced some of the highs of the sport. He played in both the successful 2014 Aviva Premiership and Challenge Cup finals, and was a member of England Under-20s’ Junior World Championship-winning squad of 2013, scoring a hat trick of tries against the USA during the campaign. Stephenson is a graduate of the Saints Academy system, having joined the club from Buckingham. He has scored four tries in his 22 first team appearances.
Finally, James Wilson has agreed a new deal to extend his stay in the East Midlands. Having the tag as ‘utility back’ can be an albatross for some, but the 31-year-old has shrugged that off by excelling in whichever position he has been selected, whether full back, wing, centre or fly half. Wilson joined the Saints from Bourgoin in 2012, and has already played in four finals, including the 2014 Aviva Premiership and Challenge Cup successes. He has played 58 times so far, scoring 93 points.
“We’re delighted that all four of these players have decided to stay with us and continue their career at the Saints,” said director of rugby Jim Mallinder. “They are all quality players who have shown time and again that they have the ability and composure to compete at the highest level of the sport, and they will remain important members of the squad for years to come.”
The Saints also announced that Glenn Dickson has left Franklin’s Gardens with immediate effect. The 28-year-old New Zealander made 14 appearances in his 15 months in the East Midlands, and is leaving to pursue other opportunities.
“We thank Glenn for his contribution, and wish him the best for the future,” Mallinder added.