Saints re-sign international duo

Thu, 08 Nov 2012 12:36
Large georgepisinamibia Large vasilyartemyevrussia Large vasilyartemyevsaints

International backs George Pisi and Vasily Artemyev have re-signed with the Northampton Saints.

International backs George Pisi and Vasily Artemyev have re-signed with the Northampton Saints.

Pisi and Artemyev both arrived at Franklin's Gardens after the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but after just a year both have agreed brand new deals to stay in the East Midlands.

26-year-old Pisi has had a sensational first 12 months in the black, green and gold. Not only was the Samoan centre named in the 2011/12 Premiership Rugby Dream Team but he picked up both the Supporters' Player and Players' Player of the Season awards with his club.

In his 31 appearances he has scored eight tries, but created plenty more with his powerful and skilful approach play.

“I'm enjoying my rugby over here,” he commented. “Saints is a good club, I've made a lot of new friends and this is a place which is moving forward.

“We're trying to play a good brand of rugby and Franklin's Gardens is a great place to play. Playing in the European Cup is awesome; it's the best competition in the world.

“My wife is enjoying her time here as well, which is very important to me, and Northampton is a good place. Having Ken here is a bonus, it makes us a family. The fans are passionate and have made our stay here very pleasant.

“Hopefully there's a lot more to come from all of us!”

Artemyev, 25, has also played 31 times in his first 12 months in the competitive club competitions. A hat-trick scorer on his debut, the Russian wing has crossed the whitewash nine times so far in his Saints' career.

But while, like Pisi, Artemyev says he is enjoying his Northampton experience, he acknowledges that there is plenty still to learn and believes that there is more to come.

“I've really enjoyed my time here at the Saints and am excited to sign a new contract,” he said. "It wasn't a hard decision to make and I'm really happy to stay at the club.

“It's been a massive learning curve for me as a player and I think that I still have a long way to go to be at the top of my game, but I'm enjoying my rugby, which is important for me.

“The whole town has been good and the people have been friendly, which has been important for myself and my partner to settle. It's a good squad and a good place to come into work, but while everyone says that there is a lot of potential here at the Saints we know that we have to keep on working. Having said that, there's a lot more in the tank for all of us.”

Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder said that re-signing both players so early in the season is a big statement of intent by the Saints.

“George and Vasily have shown already that they have the ability to contribute to a successful future at Franklin's Gardens,” he said. “George had a superb first season and has carried that on in the current campaign.

"Vasily has shown regularly that he has the talent to shine in the Premiership and although he knows that he can still add things to his game he is eager to learn and works with all of the coaches.

“We have a squad which includes England players on long-term contracts, already this year some of our best Senior Academy youngsters have put pen to paper, and with George and Vasily both having plenty more years in front of them we believe that the pieces are in place for a legacy of success at the Saints.”

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