Mallinder confident of keeping key men at Saints

George North's Saints contract runs out next summer (picture: Sharon Lucey)
George North's Saints contract runs out next summer (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Jim Mallinder is confident of holding on to all of his key men for next season.

George North is one of the stars who will be out of contract next summer, with his former club Scarlets already expressing an interest in getting the Wales wing back.

But Saints this week signalled their ambition once more by capturing France No.8 Louis Picamoles, who will move to Franklin’s Gardens when his contract at Toulouse expires next June.

And Mallinder believes North and Co will stick around to join Picamoles in the bid to bring silverware to Franklin’s Gardens.

“I wouldn’t see any reason why any of the players would want to leave Northampton Saints,” said the director of rugby.

“It’s a good club, we’re a good family club, we play a good brand of rugby in a lovely part of England.

“Why would Louis want to go from Toulouse to Northampton? Because it’s such a fantastic place.”

Picamoles, who has 51 France caps to his name, describes his move to Saints as a ‘lifestyle choice’, expressing his desire to try something new.

And the three-year deal he has been handed by Northampton shows just how highly they rate the 29-year-old.

“It’s a big signing,” Mallinder said.

“Hopefully he’s going to come and make a big impact next season.

“It’s another sign of the club wanting to grow, get better and move forward.

“It’s fantastic to be able for us to be able to go into France and get one of their best players.

“Over the last few years we’ve lost our best players to France, but it’s a good reflection of the Premiership and, more importantly, the club that Louis wanted to become part of it.”