Aviva Premiership
Saints sign Lamb and Roberts
ESPNscrum Staff
March 18, 2011
London Irish fly-half Ryan Lamb kicks a penalty, London Irish v Leicester, Guinness Premiership, Madejski Stadium, October 24, 2009
Ryan Lamb is on his way to Northampton © Getty Images
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Northampton Saints have completed a double swoop to bolster their halfback options, with London Irish fly-half Ryan Lamb and Scarlets No.9 Martin Roberts heading to Franklin's Gardens next season.

Lamb, capped by England Saxons, will provide further playmaking nous alongside Stephen Myler, although the move would appear to signal the end of Shane Geraghty's ill-fated spell at the club.

"I have really enjoyed my time at London Irish and am thankful to the coaches at the club, particularly Mike Catt," he said.

"He has definitely had an influence on my game and helped me improve my kicking and tactical play. It has been an important part of my career, but I'm really looking forward to teaming up with the Saints from next season."

The 24-year-old Roberts has been capped three times by Wales and began his career with the Ospreys before moving west. The Saints also have halfbacks Lee Dickson, Ryan Powell and Stuart Commins on their books.

"Both Martin and Ryan are talents proven at the top level and I am certain they will be excellent additions for us," Saints boss Jim Mallinder said. "Having coached Ryan at England Under-21 and Saxons levels we knew already what he can offer, while Martin has earned caps in a very strong and competitive Welsh national team.

"There is plenty of time for them to develop further as players and despite still being relatively young, both have extensive experience in the Heineken Cup too, which will prove valuable as we continue to strengthen our squad."

Meanwhile, Northampton chairman Keith Barwell will leave his post in September, to be replaced by his son, Leon. Barwell has been a central figure at Saints for the past 20 years with his initial million-pound investment in 1995 ensuring the club's successful transition to professionalism.

The Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh have been won during his time as chairman and he has also presided over the rebuilding of Franklin's Gardens. Since 2001, Northampton Saints plc has run at a surplus, the only club in England to do so. Barwell will continue on the club's board of directors for a further 12 months with the Barwell family remaining as majority shareholders.

"I have had the fortune of being involved in club rugby during a very exciting time and it has been an honour being chairman of the Saints," he said. "I believe that it is the right time for me to be stepping aside as chairman."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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