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England's Jonathan Joseph in talks with Northampton Saints

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England's Jonathan Joseph in talks with Northampton Saints

Jonathan Joseph looks set to exit the Rec, with the England centre’s Bath contract to run out at the end of the season.

Joseph joined the club from London Irish in 2013. He’d picked up four England caps by then, but kicked on notably making an impression in the 2015 Six Nations by scoring three tries in the opening two matches. He also helped England to the Grand Slam in 2016. He’s picked up 40 England caps in total so far and was also selected in the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad.

But this season has been one to forget for Joseph. He had surgery on an ankle injury in April, which ruled him out for an extended period, including England’s November internationals. He has since returned playing six matches for Bath this season, notching two tries.

But it appears he’s looking for a change, with the centre in advanced talks with Bath’s Gallagher Premiership rivals Northampton according to RugbyPass sources.

Northampton have been in search of a high calibre centre since the retirement of Wallaby Rob Horne.

Joseph is rated as the Premiership’s eighth best outside centre in the RugbyPass Index, with an RPI of 67.

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Joseph is just 27 years old and is likely targeting another World Cup cycle, ruling out a move abroad. Ben T’eo won’t be in his way internationally either with RugbyPass revealing last month that the Top 14 trio of Racing 92, Toulouse and Toulon are lining up the Worcester man.

The Saints have also been linked All Black pair Ryan Crotty and Matt Proctor.

26-year-old Proctor won his first All Blacks cap against Japan last year after five seasons with the Hurricanes.

He scored a test try on debut and Boyd has been vocal about his opinion of the midfielder, rating him as “the best centre in New Zealand” in an interview last year.

30-year-old Crotty is heading towards the tail-end of his career and is an outside chance to last another World Cup cycle.

The 43-test veteran has become a linchpin in the All Black midfield since his debut in 2013, becoming a regular starter after the 2015 retirement of longtime centre Conrad Smith.

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England's Jonathan Joseph in talks with Northampton Saints | RugbyPass