Saints reveal North's replacement

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 15:53
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NEWS: Northampton Saints have just confirmed the signing of wing Taqele Naiyaravoro from the Waratahs.

The 26-year-old Fijian-born Australia international will join the club for the 2018-19 season and beyond.

The 125kg Naiyaravoro is widely known in the Southern Hemisphere for his immense ball-carrying ability – but Scottish rugby fans will remember his turn north of the border when he scored nine tries in 22 appearances for Glasgow Warriors during the 2015-16 season.

And while he will not arrive at Franklin's Gardens until later this year, Naiyaravoro is already relishing the thought of a new challenge in the Premiership.

"I'm thrilled to be able to return to the UK and join a massive club in Northampton Saints," he said.

"The squad is already filled with talent and I can't wait to arrive and try to develop further as a player.

"The club is heading in a really exciting direction with the likes of Chris Boyd and Dan Biggar arriving next year, and I hope I can be a part of a push for more silverware at Franklin's Gardens."

Naiyaravoro made his Australia debut back in 2015 against the USA in Chicago, replacing his then-teammate at the Waratahs, Rob Horne – who he will now join at Franklin's Gardens.

He will also be well known to new Saints teammates Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill, who were all involved when Naiyaravoro scored for the Wallabies against England during their 2016 tour Down Under.

After a stint in Rugby League with the Balmain Tigers, Naiyaravoro began his senior union career with the Sydney-based Parramatta Two Blues in the Shute Shield, moving to the Waratahs in 2014.

From there a switch to Glasgow beckoned and a spectacular Champions Cup hat-trick against the Scarlets was the highlight of an impressive season in the Pro12, while he has also featured for Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights in the Top League.

He will not arrive at Franklin's Gardens until the conclusion of his commitments in Australia, but in the meantime Saints supporters can enjoy a highlight reel packed with destructive hits and rampaging running.

And having witnessed Naiyaravoro's talents in Super Rugby, Saints technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney is eager to see the same explosive player next season when he dons Black, Green and Gold.

"Taqele Naiyaravoro is an immense talent and we feel that he can really fulfil his sizeable potential at Saints," he commented.

"He clearly boasts the physical attributes to cause teams a lot of problems in the Premiership and in Europe – and he showed that during his time with Glasgow.

"Taqele already has a relationship with Rob Horne having played with him at the Waratahs and I’m sure he will make a massive impact when he slots into the backline next year."

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