Saints snap up Corbisiero

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 10:17
Large alex corbisiero scrum2 Large alexcorbisiero

Northampton Saints have bolstered their front row resources by signing England prop Alex Corbisiero, whilst Alex Waller and Tom Mercey have both signed new contracts.

Northampton Saints have bolstered their front row resources by signing England prop Alex Corbisiero, whilst Alex Waller and Tom Mercey have both signed new contracts.

Corbisiero, who arrives from London Irish, is regarded as one of the top young props in England. Still just 24, he has racked up 76 first team appearances for the Exiles and 18 England Test caps, including in the successful 2011 Six Nations campaign.

Corbisiero - who has played at every age group for his country - was included in England’s Six Nations Elite Player Squad last week and the New York-born loosehead says that he is excited by the prospect of joining the Saints.

"I've really enjoyed my time at London Irish and am grateful for everything that the club has given me," he said.

"I'm looking forward to what will be a new challenge at Saints next summer. There is a great culture and hopefully I can help the team succeed whilst continuing my progression as a player, and I'm sure that Franklin's Gardens will be a good environment for me in that regard," he added.

Waller has become one of the most recognisable names on the Saints team sheet, having been the only player to have featured in every first team matchday squad since the start of the 2011/12 season, something which helped him win the 2012 Saints Young Player of the Season award.

The Kettering-born Senior Academy graduate now has 78 appearances in the black, green and gold under his belt - including the 2011 Heineken Cup final - and says that he is hungry for more.

"It wasn't a hard decision to make," Waller commented. "My family are in the area, I've been playing here for the last four or five years and I feel that I have developed a lot as a player. I want to keep developing and hope that I can do that under the guidance of the coaches and the set-up here at the Saints.

"I'm still learning every game and have played more than I thought I would, especially last season. Hopefully I've become an established member of the squad and can keep on pushing for a starting spot," he said.

Mercey is another prop who is still relatively young despite having amassed considerable experience at first team level in the Premiership and the European Cup, with nearly a hundred appearances split between the Saints and former club, Saracens and with England Saxons honours under his belt.

Now in his third season at Franklin's Gardens, Mercey says that there is still more to come from the squad.

"The next few years are going to be exciting," he said. "People forget that we're still a young group, and over the next couple of years we'll have the opportunities to step up and show what we can do," he said.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that the three contracts were important in the development of the Saints squad ahead of next season.

"All three players have plenty of experience and because they are still in their early-to-mid twenties we believe that there is plenty more to come from them," the Saints boss commented. "I'm delighted that all three props have put pen to paper to be a part of the Saints squad going forward."

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