Saints sign Otago duo

Fri, 19 Apr 2013 14:23
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Northampton Saints revealed the signing of Glenn Dickson and Rob Verbakel into the club's squad ahead of the 2013/14 season.

Northampton Saints revealed the signing of Glenn Dickson and Rob Verbakel into the club's squad ahead of the 2013/14 season.

The pair are moving to Franklin's Gardens from Otago, where they were mainstays of the team which reached the 2012 NPC Second Division Final.

Indeed, Dickson captained the Otago team during the NPC Second Division campaign and is a highly-rated player who is comfortable in a variety of positions, particularly fly half, and centre.

A prodigious goal kicker, the 26-year-old is renowned for his strong boot and has regularly led Otago's points scoring in his five-years at the province. Dickson was invited to Franklin's Gardens this week to finalise discussions with the club, and after putting pen to paper on a two-year contract he spoke of his anticipation about playing in the East Midlands.

"I'm extremely excited by the opportunity to come and play in the Premiership at a great team like the Saints," he said.

"It's got a good track history and I've heard a lot of great things about the club. And after having had a look around I can see that it's a good place.

"I'm expecting the Premiership to be really tough and physical every single game. To try and get onto the pitch for the Saints will be a challenge in itself, but I'm looking forward to it."

Verbakel is returning to these shores to his second UK club, having helped Glasgow Warriors to the Pro12 semi-finals in 2011/12. The 25-year-old second row forward – who is a qualified civil engineer – also spent three years at Canterbury, having been talent spotted shortly after taking up the sport at university, and has a reputation for solidity in the set piece and good handling skills in the loose.

He says he is excited by the prospect of playing at Franklin's Gardens.

"I'm well aware of the Saints from my time at Glasgow and I'm looking forward to being a part of their squad and playing alongside some top players," Verbakel commented. "They have a reputation for having one of the best packs in Europe and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot. But they also like to play expansive rugby when they get a chance and have plenty of ambition. It's going to be an exciting move for me and I can't wait to get started."

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder is looking forward to welcoming the pair to Franklin's Gardens.

"We are always looking to improve and add more depth to our squad, and we believe that Glenn and Rob can excel in our Aviva Premiership, European and Anglo-Welsh campaigns," he said. "Both players have experience playing in a successful team in a tough competition and we have been impressed by what we have seen. They will be able to add an extra dimension to how we play.

"We're very happy that they have chosen to come to the Saints and are looking forward to them joining us in the off-season."

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