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Northampton sign unheralded new No9 following loss of fan favourite Cobus Reinach

By Online Editors
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Northampton Saints have signed scrum-half Tom James from Doncaster Knights ahead of the 2020/21 season. The 6ft tall No9 will make the step up to the Gallagher Premiership for the first time in his career, having enjoyed spells with the Knights and Bedford Blues in the Championship, as well as Loughborough Students in National One.

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His exploits for the university outfit saw him called up for England Students back in 2016 and he has established himself as Doncaster’s first-choice scrum-half since his arrival at Castle Park James – finishing the 2018/19 season as Knights’ top-scorer and adding eight tries in 18 appearances to his tally this season.

The 26-year-old admits he cannot wait to test himself at the top table of English rugby when he arrives at Franklin’s Gardens this summer following the departure of fan favourite Cobus Reinach, the South African World Cup winner who is set to join Montpellier.

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“The decision to take this opportunity with Northampton Saints and join a club at the very top level was a no-brainer for me,” he said.

“There’s a great set-up at Franklin’s Gardens; the training facilities are excellent and the stadium is one of the best in the country. But most importantly, Saints are a club with huge ambition and a really impressive group of coaches, so I’m confident it is the best place for me to improve as a rugby player.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Chris Boyd, Sam Vesty and the entire group having seen so many young players break through over the last 18 months.”

Saints director of Rugby Chris Boyd added: “Tom has done really well over at Doncaster. He was spotted by some of our coaches working in that space, and also played alongside our academy coach Jake Sharp at Bedford – it was clear to us that he had really good core skills, works hard and comes from a good background.

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“He just needs an opportunity to flourish and we think he’ll really compliment the guys we’ve already got for next year in Alex Mitchell, Henry Taylor and Connor Tupai. They’ve got their subtle differences but they are all young, high potential, and English, which fits our model perfectly.”

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