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Saints sign Joel Matavesi while releasing player from contract

By Kim Ekin
Joel Matavesi of Newcastle Falcons in action during the European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Final match between Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons (Photo by Chris Lishman/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Northampton Saints have confirmed the signing of Joel Matavesi on a short-term deal, while also releasing Dani Long-Martinez from his contract early.

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The 25-year-old centre is the younger brother of Fijian internationals Josh and Sam Matavesi, the current Saints hooker.

He came through Exeter Chiefs’ Academy system while playing for his hometown club, Cambourne, and the English-qualified centre also spent some time with Welsh outfit Ospreys before returning to Cornwall to represent Redruth in National Two South.

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“His breakthrough to Gallagher Premiership level came in 2017 when he made the switch to Newcastle Falcons, and Matavesi made five first-team appearances for the Kingston Park side, scoring one try on his league debut against Sale Sharks in 2021,” a statement from Saints read.

“After a successful trial period at Northampton and loan spell with Saints’ partner club Bedford Blues – where he has made four Championship appearances since the start of February – Matavesi has penned a short-term contract with the men in Black, Green and Gold.”

Meanwhile the club also confirmed that Dani Long-Martinez has been released from his contract with Northampton Saints by mutual consent.

The 20-year-old Norfolk-born wing initially signed with the men in Black, Green and Gold in the summer of 2020, having come through the Club’s Academy system.

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Having previously represented Norwich School and Holt RFC, Long-Martinez featured heavily for Saints’ Under-18 side during the 2019/20 season, top scoring across the Academy League campaign, and at the 2019 Premiership Rugby 7s competition, prior to signing a full-time deal at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

He scored his only Northampton try in a pre-season friendly against Worcester Warriors ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, and gained experience out on loan with Championship side Bedford Blues over the last two seasons.

“Northampton Saints would like to wish Dani well for the future, and thank him for his contribution during his two years at the Club,” the statement concluded.

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