sport

Saints swoop for Corbisiero

Northampton have announced the signing of England prop Alex Corbisiero from London Irish.

The 24-year-old will move to Franklin's Gardens from London Irish at the end of this season.

He has won 18 Test caps and was part of the England team that beat New Zealand two months ago, but the New York-born forward is currently battling to overcome a knee injury.

Corbisiero, a member of England's elite player squad, is battling to be fit for the RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on February 2.

London Irish boss Brian Smith said recently the player was faced with a "degenerative" injury problem, and described his knee as "a mess".

Corbisiero, though, is looking forward to plying his club trade at Franklin's Gardens.

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

"I am 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 while continuing my progression as a player, and

I am sure that Franklin's Gardens will be a good environment for me in that regard."

Northampton have also announced new contracts for props Tom Mercey and Alex Waller.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder added: "All three players have plenty of experience, and because they are still in their early-to-mid 20s we believe that there is plenty more to come from them.

"I am that all three props have put pen to paper to be a part of the Saints squad going forward."

Corbisiero joined Irish as a 17-year-old, and the club's rugby director Brian Smith said: "We are sad to see Alex go.

"We made him a very attractive offer to stay earlier this season but, unfortunately, Alex feels his future is elsewhere.

"He is an academy product who has gone through to the first team and on to the international stage, and we are immensely proud of that.

"We have some crucial games left this season, and I know Alex will give his all in those games before departing for Northampton."