Northampton Saints boss Mallinder refuses to be drawn on George North link

TIGHT-LIPPED - Jim Mallinder was keeping his cards close to his chest on Saints' move for George North (picture by Linda Dawson)

TIGHT-LIPPED - Jim Mallinder was keeping his cards close to his chest on Saints' move for George North (picture by Linda Dawson)

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Director of rugby Jim Mallinder has refused to be drawn on Saints’ move for Wales star George North.

North, as revealed by the Chron last Monday, has emerged as a transfer target for Northampton.

And the 20-year-old’s agent Christian Abt has confirmed that Saints are in talks with Scarlets about a move for the player.

North, who helped Wales claim this year’s Six Nations title, is one of the hottest properties in European rugby.

And with Saints keen to strengthen their wing options ahead of next season, the 6ft 4in wide man would seemingly fit the bill.

But Mallinder, who has already snapped up Kahn Fotuali’i, Salesi Ma’afu and Alex Corbisiero, did not want to comment specifically on the North situation.

“I always say that recruitment is ongoing,” he said. “We’re always trying to bring in the best players we possibly can to improve the squad for next year.

“We’ve got a couple of positions we’re looking to fill and we’ll bring in the best players we possibly can.”

North has one year left on his Scarlets deal and the RaboDirect PRO12 club could look to cash in on their prized asset this summer.

But Scarlets boss Simon Easterby remains determined to hold onto the player, who has scored 12 tries in 31 Test appearances for Wales.

“It goes without saying it would be a disaster for us and the rest of the Welsh regions, for Welsh rugby in general,” said Easterby.

“We want all the best players we can have. George North is an exceptional talent. He’s come through our region, we’ve supported him and we’ve developed his skills.

“He’s not played for another side, and we’re desperate to keep hold of him.”