Kiwi centre Wilson’s delight at joining ‘world class’ Saints

TOP COACHES - new signing James Wilson is impressed by the pairing of Dorian West (left) and Jim Mallinder
TOP COACHES - new signing James Wilson is impressed by the pairing of Dorian West (left) and Jim Mallinder

NEW Saints centre James Wilson says he can’t wait to team up with the ‘world class’ squad at Franklin’s Gardens.

The 28-year-old today signed on at Northampton, having spent last season at French outfit Bourgoin.

Wilson will add more flexibility to the Saints side as, predominantly a centre, he can also play at full-back or fly-half.

He has experienced Super Rugby with both the Highlanders and Chiefs, but is now looking forward to taking on Aviva Premiership Rugby and the Heineken Cup.

And Wilson admits he can’t wait to link up with Saints coaches and players who he rates extremely highly.

“Playing in the Premiership has always been a goal of mine and I can’t wait to join Northampton Saints,” he said. “The history of the club is something that is very special, and the coaches and squad that I am joining are world class.

“I cannot wait to get out in front of the incredibly passionate fans that I have witnessed on TV and run out at Franklin’s Gardens.”

Wilson became an Invercargill hero when his drop goal won Southland the Ranfurly Shield with a victory over Canterbury this time last year.

It capped an eight-year stay at the province for the player, who at 6ft 5in and 93kgs adds an intimidating physical presence to the black, green and gold.

And Saints boss Jim Mallinder believes Wilson will fit in perfectly at the Gardens.

“James is an experienced player who has shown his abilities on both sides of the world,” he commented.

“He reads a game well, brings other players around him into the play and has a strong kicking game, too.

“We have been impressed with what we’ve seen of him and believe that he will fit into our patterns of play and give us options.”