Northampton Saints raid New Zealand to make double signing

DOUBLE SWOOP? - Jim Mallinder has reportedly added two new players to his squad (picture by Linda Dawson)
DOUBLE SWOOP? - Jim Mallinder has reportedly added two new players to his squad (picture by Linda Dawson)

Saints have signed Otago duo Glenn Dickson and Rob Verbakel, according to reports in New Zealand.

Utility back Dickson, who has a booming boot and is an accurate goalkicker, captained Otago at the end of last season and has reportedly signed a two-year deal at Northampton.

And lock Verbakel is set to join his 26-year-old team-mate in England, returning to the UK for the first time since a brief spell at Glasgow Warriors in the 2011-12 season.

In an interview with the Otago Daily Times, Dickson outlined his reasons for moving to Northampton.

‘’I was actually just trying to get into Japan and waiting for something to open up there,” he explained.

‘’But then I got put on to a friend of [former Otago captain] Eben Joubert, who started things rolling,’’ Dickson said.

‘’At the end of the last Otago season I was always going to go.

‘’It wasn’t a tough decision to make, really. I was surprised the way it came about but [it’s] something I’m really excited about.’’

Dickson played 46 games for Otago but is now set to fly to England in mid-June to link up with his new team-mates at Franklin’s Gardens.

And 25-year-old Verbakel is set to join him there, having made 15 appearances for Otago.

The athletic lock is said to possess good ball-handling skills, while his Dutch ancestry will mean he is not classed as an overseas player at Saints.