Forward Craig signs new deal with Saints

NEW DEAL - Saints forward James Craig (Picture: Linda Dawson)

NEW DEAL - Saints forward James Craig (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Saints have announced that forward James Craig has signed a new contract with the club.

The 23-year-old forward joined the Saints from Leeds Carnegie in the summer of 2011 and has so far played 18 times in the club’s first team, including in the 2012 LV= Cup final and Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final.

He has yet to play for the first team this season due to injury, but director of rugby Jim Mallinder definitely sees him as part of his future plans.

Mallinder says Craig is a player who can provide a substantial contribution to the squad in the future.

“James is a talented player who has shown already that he has the ability to compete at the top end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table,” said the Saints boss.

“He can play both in the second row and on the flank, and you need that kind of positional flexibility in the squad.

“We’re very happy that James has signed a new contract with us so early in the season and we’re looking forward to him continuing his development at Franklin’s Gardens.”

Craig, who represented England through the youth age-groups,

Craig can play at either lock or in the back row, and he says he is now determined to get fully fit and start contributing to the black, green and gold cause again.

“It has been a bit frustrating for me in terms of injuries this year, but I’m glad that the coaches have seen past that and seen my potential for the future,” said Craig.

“Being a part of the Saints has been a great experience, and hopefully I can get back into the matchday 23 when I get back to fitness.

“Settling into the club has been a steady transition and I feel very much at home here now. It’s a great set of lads, a good crowd, good coaches, and you can’t say more than that.

“Looking forward I know I need to break into the first team. It’s going to be hard; we’ve got quality players across the back five forwards, including a lot of England internationals, but I’m determined to keep improving as much as I can.”