Saints decline to comment on Picamoles speculation

Jon Fisher is eager to be Saints' first-choice No.8 this season (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Jon Fisher is eager to be Saints' first-choice No.8 this season (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Saints have declined to comment on speculation linking the club with a sensational swoop for France star Louis Picamoles.

Reports in France last month suggested that Northampton were one of a number of sides interested in the Toulouse No.8, whose current deal runs until 2016.

And sources now suggest that Picamoles, who recently represented France at the World Cup, has agreed to sign for an English club, having been made a lucrative offer.

Bath and Saints are seen as the front runners for the signature of the 29-year-old, but the west country outfit’s first-team coach Darren Edwards has quashed rumours surrounding his club.

Edwards told the Bath Chronicle: “We’ll always look at good players and if we get the opportunity we would sign them, but there’s nothing in that.

“After the recent signings we’ve made here people have noticed they’re of a certain level and we’re trying to step up with our squad.

“We’ll always be linked with players, which is nice, and hopefully we will have opportunities in the future to sign good ones.”

Saints have continually insisted they are happy with their options at No.8, with Sam Dickinson and Jon Fisher battling it out for the shirt this season.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has previously told this publication: “We’ve got two outstanding No.8s.

“Sam Dickinson’s probably played a bit more than Jon, but we’ve seen some of the things Jon can do. He’s very, very talented.

“We’re very happy with those two competing for that No.8 position, but we do have other players who can play in that position as well and will be very comfortable in that role.”

However, Mallinder did remain open to the prospect of unearthing some ‘hidden gems’ at the World Cup.

He said: “We never say that (the squad is set for the season).

“We’ve got a squad that we’re very, very happy with and we’re very, very close to our salary cap, but things always change.

“People get injured, people sometimes look to move on and we look to bring people in.

“(Recruitment and development manager) Dusty Hare will be having a look during the World Cup to see if there’s any hidden gems out there, and recruitment never stops.”

When asked to comment on the latest rumours surrounding Picamoles, a spokesperson for the Saints said: “Northampton Saints does not comment on speculation.”