Paterson to join Northampton

Sale lock Michael Paterson will join Northampton this summer
Sale lock Michael Paterson will join Northampton this summer

Lock Michael Paterson will join Northampton from Sale Sharks this summer as the Saints bid to offset the loss of Toulon-bound Samu Manoa.

The former New Zealand Under-21 star travelled on England's three-Test All Blacks tour in 2014, qualifying for Stuart Lancaster's side through his grandfather.

The 29-year-old turned out in England's non-cap international against the Barbarians last summer, and has spent the last two years at Sale, following stints with Canterbury and Cardiff Blues.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder will hope Paterson's arrival can fill at least part of the chasm of rampaging back-five forward Manoa's summer departure for French and European champions Toulon.

"Michael has proven himself to be a quality player wherever he has been," he said Saints boss Mallinder.

"He has earned recognition from national selectors, supporters and players alike for the consistently high levels of performance and commitment in the jersey.

"He is an excellent signing for us and will add to our options in the pack, which is an important area of the team."

Paterson is still recovering from knee surgery in December, and admitted he is determined to fight back to fitness to finish his Sale stint in style.

"My priorities still remain with Sale, getting back on the pitch and playing my part in the lead up to the play-offs," said Paterson.

"But I'm very excited to be joining Northampton Saints this summer.

"It is a club that has achieved a lot of success over the last few years.

"After meeting with the coaches and management, it was clear to see the ambition and professional standards of the club.

"I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead, and continuing the development of my rugby in such a highly competitive team.

"I have very much enjoyed my time with Sale and will leave knowing that I gave my all every time I pulled on the jersey.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity (Sale boss) Steve Diamond has given me, and I thank all the players, management and fans for their continued support."

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