Aviva Premiership
Northampton announce Fotuali'i swoop
ESPN Staff
January 24, 2013
Ospreys' Kahn Fotauli'i fights to hold onto possession, Toulouse v Ospreys, Heineken Cup, Ernest Wallon Stadium, Toulouse, France, December 8, 2012
Kahn Fotuali'i will play for Northampton next season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Kahn Fotuali'i
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

Comment from ESPNscrum's Tom Hamilton

  • The signing of Kahn Fotuali'i is another hammer blow for the Welsh regions. While they are battling to keep hold of their Wales contingent with the Top 14 Orange clubs already having secured the signatures of Jamie Roberts et al, they also need an injection of foreign talent to play alongside their home-grown players in the regions.
  • Fotuali'i filled that void - he is box office. People will pay to watch him play. Now that he has agreed to move to the Aviva Premiership, much to the league's gain, the RaboDirect PRO12 and the Ospreys have a gap to fill. Gone are the days when the likes of Jerry Collins and Marty Holah played in the Celtic league, but Fotual'i was held in a similar regard.
  • It is a massive shame for the Ospreys and the PRO12 that he has opted to move to the Saints, but the fact that Andrew Hore went on record saying that they could not compete with the money on offer in the Premiership, let alone the Top 14, shows just how precarious the situation is in the Welsh regions.

Northampton have pulled off a huge coup with the signing of Ospreys scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i ahead of next season.

With Fotuali'i's Ospreys contract up at the end of the season, his signature was hotly sought after. The likes of Munster, Bath, Racing Metro, Montpellier and Saracens were all linked with the Samoan No.9 but the Saints have won the race after offering him a contract reportedly worth £250,000 a season.

He will now link up with the Saints in the summer ahead of the 2013-14 campaign and will vie with England's Lee Dickson for the half-back berth. He has caught the eye with a number of memorable performances for the Ospreys, both in the Heineken Cup and the RaboDirect PRO12 and Saints coach Jim Mallinder is delighted with his new recruit, who will work under soon-to-be Northampton backs coach Alex King next season.

"Kahn is a player who has attracted a lot of positive headlines and attention throughout his career," Mallinder said. "He has a superb set of skills and is a powerful and dynamic runner who will add to our options in one of the team's crucial positions.

"We're delighted that he has chosen to sign a long-term contract to play his rugby at Franklin's Gardens, and we're looking forward to welcoming him to the club in the summer."

For the Ospreys, the news will come as a massive blow. Fotuali'i was one of their star players and their chief operations officer Andrew Hore claims that they could not match the offer on the table from the Saints.

"We are obviously disappointed to lose a player of Kahn's quality," Hore said. "We made what we consider a very competitive offer to the player to retain his services, but unfortunately, he has advised us that his future lies elsewhere.

"When Kahn signed for us it was pretty much under the radar and he has thrived in our environment, playing the best rugby of his career this season which has led to the intense interest in his services. Kahn was happy to stay here, but we were unable to match the salary available elsewhere, and we totally understand that it is only a short career and he needs to put his and his family's future first.

"Although this is disappointing news, the early decision from Kahn allows us to move forward positively as a business with an eye on next season and possible player recruitment. We will continue to look for under the radar signings who will offer value for money while contributing immensely to our environment, just as Kahn has."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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