Northampton Saints: Lawes, Biggar & Hutchinson among 19 to sign new deals

Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar & Rory Hutchinson
Courtney Lawes, Dan Biggar and Rory Hutchinson all played for their respective countries during this year's Six Nations

England World Cup finalist Courtney Lawes, Wales fly-half Dan Biggar and Scotland centre Rory Hutchinson are among 19 Northampton Saints players to have agreed new deals with the club.

Lawes' England team-mates Lewis Ludlam, Piers Francis, George Furbank and Teimana Harrison have also committed their futures at Franklin's Gardens.

The deals were announced on the day contracts for the current season end.

Clubs had to offer revised terms after voting to cut the salary cap by £1.4m.

It is understood that England second-row Lawes, 31, and fellow British and Irish Lions tourist Biggar, 30, have extended their previous deals until 2023.

Alex Mitchell, Alex Moon and Fraser Dingwall, who were called up to the England squad during this year's Six Nations, have also agreed new contracts, along with co-captain Alex Waller and experienced forward Mikey Haywood.

"The entire squad and staff deserve huge credit for how they have handled the situation caused by the pandemic over the last few months," said Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd.

"There's been a massive amount of effort put in behind the scenes to make sure everyone remains together, and now we're training again you can see how hungry our players are to rip in to matches when it is safe to do so."

First-team players David Ribbans, James Grayson, Ehren Painter, James Fish and Lewis Bean will also stay with the club on new terms, while academy youngsters Alex Coles and Samson Ma'asi have signed their first senior contracts.

The club, who were fourth in the Premiership when matches were halted by Covid-19 in March, have not disclosed the lengths of any of the deals. But they follow nine other players who had already agreed new contracts with the club beyond 1 July.

The stability at Saints follows a contracts dispute at East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers that has left the futures of several players unclear, with a number contemplating leaving the club when their deals expire on Tuesday.

"Getting so many influential players bought in to what we're trying to achieve, and committed to staying with us for an additional two or three years, is a huge coup for Saints," added Boyd.

"We have a great balance of emerging and world-class players at our disposal, with a home-grown spine to the team, so it was vital for us to keep this exciting group together and build the core of our side.

"Moreover, 17 of these 19 players are English qualified; part of our responsibility is to produce players capable of representing England and we are confident we can continue to do that within this group and throughout the rest of the squad in the coming years."