Dickson and Verbakel will add extra dimension to Saints squad, says Mallinder

TAKING SHAPE - George North is one of a number of new signings for Saints ahead of next season

TAKING SHAPE - George North is one of a number of new signings for Saints ahead of next season

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Jim Mallinder says new signings Glenn Dickson and Rob Verbakel will add an extra dimension to the Saints squad.

The Otago duo have put pen to paper at Franklin’s Gardens, becoming Northampton’s fifth and sixth signings for next season.

They will join the likes of Kahn Fotuali’i and George North in an exciting setup for the new campaign.

And Mallinder is excited by what the Kiwis – Dickson is a goalkicking utility back, Verbakel is an athletic lock – will add to the Saints mix.

“We are always looking to improve and add more depth to our squad, and we believe that Glenn and Rob can excel in our Premiership, European and Anglo-Welsh campaigns,” he said.

“Both players have experience playing in a successful team in a tough competition and we have been impressed by what we have seen. They will be able to add an extra dimension to how we play.

“We’re very happy that they have chosen to come to the Saints and are looking forward to them joining us in the summer.”

Dickson regularly topped the points scorers’ list during his five years at Otago, possessing a booming boot.

And the 26-year-old, who has signed a two-year deal at Saints, is now looking forward to playing Premiership rugby at a club he says he has heard plenty about.

“I’m extremely excited by the opportunity to come and play in the Premiership at a great team like the Saints,” he said.

“It’s got a good track history and I’ve heard a lot of great things about the club. And after having had a look around I can see that it’s a good place.

“I’m expecting the Premiership to be really tough and physical every single game. To try and get onto the pitch for the Saints will be a challenge in itself, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Verbakel already has European rugby experience under his belt after a brief spell at Glasgow Warriors last season.

And the 25-year-old, who has a reputation for solidity in the set piece and good handling skills, is looking forward to coming back to Britain.

“I’m well aware of the Saints from my time at Glasgow and I’m looking forward to being a part of their squad and playing alongside some top players,” Verbakel said.

“They have a reputation for having one of the best packs in Europe and I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot. But they also like to play expansive rugby when they get a chance and have plenty of ambition. It’s going to be an exciting move for me and I can’t wait to get started.”