No wholesale changes this summer - but Saints keen to strengthen squad

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Phil Dowson says there won't be wholesale changes at Saints this summer.

But the boss does feel the need to 'freshen up in certain areas and positions' as he shapes his squad for next season.

Saints made their first signing for the 2023/24 campaign earlier today, announcing that England hooker Curtis Langdon will arrive from Montpellier this summer.

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And when asked how complete the squad for next season now is, Dowson said: "It's fairly complete, there won't be wholesale changes, certainly.

Curtis Langdon will join Saints this summerCurtis Langdon will join Saints this summer
Curtis Langdon will join Saints this summer

"We want to keep that core group together, keep it really cohesive and make sure we're keeping the team ticking along with some continuity so there won't be massive wholesale changes.

"But we also need to freshen up in certain areas and positions to make sure we're really pushing our performance."

Dowson took over as Saints boss from Chris Boyd last summer, and this is the first time he has driven the recruitment process.

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"It's an interesting process, not something I've been through too many times, so I'm getting lots of help from Paul Shields, Eamonn Hyland and Chris Boyd in terms of how it works, balancing it up with salary caps, English-qualified players and stuff like that," Dowson said.

"It's been a real learning curve for me and we're just going through it methodically and trusting the fact we've got the best possible people in that space to give us the best opportunity to win games with that group."

Boyd may have left Northampton to return home to New Zealand last summer but he is still employed by Saints as a technical coaching consultant.

And he is currently back in town.

"I speak to Boydy pretty much every week, and I think Sam (Vesty) does the same," Dowson said.

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"He actually turned up on Tuesday morning and he's been in our meetings and feeding back to me in terms of the environment and who he's talking to.

"He's still really integral to the group and helping us all out in terms of coaching the coaches so we're still thinking about what we're doing and how we can do it better.

"He's over for the Exeter game and the Munster game so for the next couple of weeks he'll be kicking around Northampton."