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Northampton forced to bring in experienced hooker as injuries pile up

Northampton Saints have been forced to sign a new hooker as injuries mount going into the new season.

They’ve agreed a deal with Joe Gray as injury cover until October.

England hooker Dylan Hartley has not played since March, but was recently named in the 44-man England training squad.

Eddie Jones told RugbyPass last week that Hartley was fit to return “All the medical reports we have on him are that he’s right for full training, which is great news”.

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30-year-old Gray rejoins the club from Harlequins after eight years with the south-west London side, where he made over 150 appearances and lifted the Premiership Rugby title in 2012 – playing all 80 minutes in the final.

Nottingham-born Gray is a Saints Academy graduate, first running out in the Black, Green and Gold back in 2007 and making 20 appearances over three seasons.

During his time with Quins he also represented England Saxons before earning a full cap for the Red Rose against New Zealand in 2014.

“We’re delighted to have secured a player of Joe’s experience and quality for the next three months,” said Saints’ director of rugby Chris Boyd.

“A number of our hookers are carrying niggles heading into the back end of preseason, and we want to make sure they are back to full fitness before they return with a long season ahead. We have three important preseason matches in the coming weeks, so it’s important to make sure we are covered.

“Joe has a proven track record in the Premiership, and I’m sure our younger hookers like Reece and Samson will also relish the opportunity to learn from someone new.”

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Northampton forced to bring in experienced hooker as injuries pile up | RugbyPass