Northampton Saints has today announced that Louis Picamoles has signed a contract to join the club from the beginning of the 2016 season.
The 29-year-old has been at the pinnacle of rugby in France for a decade, spending five seasons at Montpellier and then seven more with Toulouse, where he won the 2010 European Cup and back-to-back Top 14 titles in 2011 and 2012 among his 150 games played to date.
Regarded as one of the finest number eights in the world, Picamoles has been a regular in the French international set-up since his debut in 2008 and recently made his 50th appearance as an integral part of Les Blues’ 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is delighted that the Parisian will be wearing black, green and gold from next season.
"Louis is a world class player and a proven performer at the highest level of club and international rugby," he said. "He was France’s standout performer at the World Cup and we’re excited by the prospect of him linking up with the quality players we have here already.
"He is still young and we believe that his best years are still to come. When we met it was clear that he has the drive and ambition to improve and be successful, and we’re delighted that he will be doing that here with us at Franklin’s Gardens.
"Louis is a fantastic addition to the squad and his signing is a real coup for the club as we look to continually improve and compete at the highest level, both in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe."
"It is going to be an honour to become part of a club as prestigious as the Saints," Picamoles added. "I’m really looking forward to learn more about the club, my future team mates, to play in the Aviva Premiership and to immerse myself in the English culture, especially my first big derby against Leicester!
"I’m really ambitious to win titles and I’m convinced that I will do this with the Saints. The club has all the coaches, players and staff to reach the top of the sport in England and in Europe, and I’m looking forward to arriving at Franklin’s Gardens."