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Callum Hunter-Hill finds new Premiership club days after Saracens exit

By Josh Raisey
Callum Hunter-Hill of Saracens looks on as they walk down a tunnel formed by players of Saracens after defeat to Bath Rugby during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on May 06, 2023 in Bath, England. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have announced the signing of second-row Callum Hunter-Hill, who recently left Saracens.

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It is the second lock signing in as many days for the Gallagher Premiership champions, following the arrival of George Smith from the NFL’s Internation Player Pathway programme.

The 27-year-old’s departure from Saracens was announced earlier this week after five years at the StoneX Stadium, where he amassed 81 appearances.

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Kyle Steyn reflects on his rugby journey

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Kyle Steyn reflects on his rugby journey

Northampton have seen second-rows Alex Moon and Courtney Lawes (though he played primarily in the back row in the final seasons of his Saints career) leave Franklin’s Gardens over the summer, and have therefore been forced to find replacements.

The former Scotland U20 international is not the only Saracen that is making the move north in the offseason, with prop Tom West also joining the side that triumphed over Saracens in the Premiership semi-final last season on their way to winning the title.

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“When the opportunity to join Saints came, I looked at the team and it just seems like a fantastic place to be,” Hunter-Hill said after signing.

“They are a club on the up, and have obviously just won the Premiership.

“I love the brand of rugby Saints play. It is very open and it is very quick. Even the defensive systems suit me as a player, it just makes me excited.”

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Hunter-Hill’s new director of rugby Phil Dowson said: “Callum has been a key part of the success at Saracens over a long period and will have learnt a lot from those experiences.

“We look forward to having that experience within our squad, and giving Callum an opportunity to compete and improve in an area of strength for the club.

“We were impressed when we spoke to Callum about his desire to kick on and get better and we know we have an environment to allow him to do that.”

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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