Saints sign Exeter prop Petch

Saints have signed promising Exeter Chiefs prop Alfie Petch.

Alfie Petch
Alfie Petch

The 22-year-old will bolster the ranks at tighthead, competing with the likes of Paul Hill and Ehren Painter for starts at next season.

Petch initially joined Exeter’s academy at the age of 14 before progressing into the club’s Under-18s line-up.

The 128kg forward made his first-team debut during the 2018/19 season, while featuring for England Under-20s in both the Six Nations and World Championships in Argentina in the same campaign.

Petch has gained senior experience with Cornish Pirates, playing 23 times in the Championship this season.

And he is now looking forward to getting started at Saints.

“I’m really excited about a new challenge in Northampton and getting stuck in with all the boys there,” Petch said.

“It’s a young squad of talented players up at Saints, with an impressive coaching group too – I’m also very grateful to Alan Paver at Cornish Pirates for helping me so much this season.

“I really believe Northampton will be consistent Premiership contenders in the years ahead, so I can’t wait to get started.”

Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson, who takes over as director of rugby this summer, said: “The Championship is a fantastic breeding ground for young props and Alfie impressed us with his natural strength, power and scrummaging ability.

“He’s got skill around the park too, so he’s not a one-trick pony, but first and foremost he loves scrummaging and wants to better himself to see how far he can go – which is music to (scrum coach) Matt Ferguson’s ears.

“Alfie has spent all his life in the West Country, so he’s excited to move up to Northampton for a fresh start.

"He loved playing week-in, week-out for Cornish Pirates and that desire to get on the pitch and build his experience was just what we were looking for."