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Northampton sign dual code England qualified flyhalf to fill void left by star's exit

By Ian Cameron
Edinburgh's Australian fly-half Charlie Savala (R) runs with the ball flanked by Edinburgh's pop Pierre Schoeman (2nd L) during the European Rugby Champions Cup pool A rugby union match between Castres Olympique and Edinburgh Rugby at the Pierre-Fabre stadium, in Castres, south-western France on January 15, 2023. (Photo by Valentine CHAPUIS / AFP) (Photo by VALENTINE CHAPUIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have finalized the loan signing of fly-half Charlie Savala from Edinburgh Rugby to address the void left by James Grayson, who is set to depart for Japan.

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It was confirmed today that Grayson is to leave Saints mid-season in search of more playing time in Japan.

The 23-year-old, an English-qualified player with 33 appearances for Edinburgh since his debut in the 2020/21 United Rugby Championship season, has joined the Saints with immediate effect.

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Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Savala transitioned from rugby league to union, initially in the Sydney Roosters’ academy, before relocating to Scotland in 2020.

Standing at an imposing 193cm and weighing 102kg, Savala is a versatile player, proficient both in ball handling and defensive duties. Notably, he maintained an impressive 93 per cent tackle success rate across 15 appearances in the URC last season and emerged as Edinburgh’s most accurate goal-kicker during the 2023/24 URC season, landing 82 per cent of his attempts from the tee.

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Savala’s notable performances earned him a call-up to Scotland’s international squad during the 2023 Six Nations as injury cover, showcasing his growing reputation on the rugby stage. Although he did not feature for Gregor Townsend’s side in the remainder of the Championship, Savala’s potential did not go unnoticed.

Phil Dowson, the Director of Rugby at Northampton Saints, expressed enthusiasm about incorporating Savala into the squad, especially considering the demanding schedule ahead, including Gallagher Premiership and Investec Champions Cup matches.

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“Charlie has a very good skillset,” Dowson remarked. “His pass-kick option is really good, and he’s a confident guy who wants to come here and play, so we’re grateful to Edinburgh for allowing him the opportunity to come to Saints on loan.”

Dowson highlighted Savala’s rugby league background, emphasizing his ability to read the game and exploit open spaces. The Saints coaching staff, including Sam Vesty and Lee Radford, is eager to work with Savala and contribute to his development during his time with the club.

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