Northampton Saints have confirmed that Ehren Painter has penned his first senior contract with the club.
The 20-year-old tighthead prop – who made his first-team debut in Black, Green and Gold back in April – has signed a deal that will keep him at the club for at least two more seasons until 2021.
Painter has announced himself in the Gallagher Premiership this season under Chris Boyd, featuring in eight of the club’s 11 outings in all competitions so far and showing off set-piece skill that belies his age.
The gifted player represented England at both Under-17 and Under-18 level, before earning the call into the Under-20’s squad for the Six Nations and World Rugby Under-20 Championships in 2018.
After making several appearances for the Wanderers side that lifted back-to-back Premiership Rugby A League titles, Painter made a phenomenal impact when given the opportunity to impress in the league last season – notably shoving Leicester Tigers’ pack backwards in the closing stages at Welford Road to help Northampton secure a first league double over their fierce rivals in over a decade.
And with the ink now dry on his first senior Saints contract and even more first-team action under his belt this season, Painter is delighted to be staying with Northampton for the foreseeable future.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to continue here at Franklin’s Gardens,” he said.
“Chris Boyd has shown with selection this season that age is only a number, and that opportunities are there for you to take if you’re performing well.
“Saints have supported me all the way through my Academy career, and this environment is a brilliant one for me to learn my craft – I’m absorbing new things all the time from the likes of Matt Ferguson, Phil Dowson, Ben Franks, and Dylan Hartley.
“I’m really relishing taking the next step in my career and seeing what this squad can achieve in the months and years ahead.”
Director of rugby Chris Boyd added: “Ehren has developed into a really solid and dependable tighthead; he’s still young and has plenty to learn, but I’m certain he has all the tools he needs to become a player of exceptional quality.
“We’re proud of our home-grown players here in Northampton, and Ehren fully deserves to add his name to the long list of Academy graduates to progress into the senior squad. I’m really looking forward to seeing how far he can go.
“Credit has to go to Simon Sinclair, Mark Hopley and all the academy staff for the impressive calibre of players that continue to be developed here at Franklin’s Gardens.”
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